Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

October 2016 Archives

In the recently filed civil suit in New Mexico against Roosevelt County Sheriff Marlin Parker, the town of Elida's mayor, Durward Dixon, alleges the sheriff challenged him to a fist fight in the middle of the road. Dixon and Parker are at odds over Parker's alleged interference with the Elida police department's enforcement of law and order.

The lawsuit specifically claims that Sheriff Parker returned a dog to its owner after Elida police had taken the dog away for killing chickens. The sheriff returned the dog because he asserted that chickens are not livestock. When Dixon attempted to speak with the county sheriff, Parker refused to discuss the matter on a couple occasions, and on one occasion, according to Dixon, challenged him to a fist fight in the road.

Officers in Portland, Maine encountered 30-year-old white male, Asher Woodworth, dressed as a rather convincing tree, standing in the street blocking traffic. If it weren't for the rather conspicuous boots he was wearing, he would have appeared to be a tree popping up out of the street. Woodworth, who was crossing the street at a snail's pace while dressed as a convincing tree, was mid-performance art performance when officers interrupted.

When the officers arrived, they asked Woodworth to not stand in the street or block traffic. Woodworth seemed unable to comply with their request as he was engrossed in his performance, but he remained peaceful and silent. He removed himself from the street once, but returned after the officers started walking away. The officers were very patient and peaceful, and provided multiple warnings, but ultimately arrested Woodworth after he continued to disobey their warning to not obstruct traffic by standing in the street or crossing the street excessively slowly.

If you're really worried about encountering a carjacker, you may want to consider a manual transmission in your next car. A would-be carjacker's evil plan in St. Louis was recently foiled by a standard transmission (yes, a standard transmission is a manual, not an automatic).

The victim of the attempted carjacking in St. Louis was threatened at gun point to exit his vehicle and empty his pockets. When the carjacker attempted to drive off, he couldn't figure out how to operate the manual transmission and was forced to abandon his criminal plans. The victim attributes his survival to being polite, following instructions, and having a stickshift.

5 Crazy Storage Unit Crimes

Renting a storage unit is usually a run-of-the-mill experience. You rent a space, you buy a lock, you put stuff in the space, you put your lock on the door, then return once a year to add more stuff until you need to upgrade to a larger or second space. Occasionally though, you hear about crazy crimes or just really weird occurrences that happen at self-storage locations, and you feel thankful that you've never had that experience.

The following 5 crazy storage unit crimes might make you think twice about renting a self-storage unit at a location that doesn't provide some level of security.

A Florida mom is now in the same jail as her daughter after being arrested for mailing her daughter drugs while the daughter was in jail. The 55-year-old mother, Nadine Carroll, is being charged with smuggling contraband into the jail, while her daughter, 27, was charged with possession of cocaine and driving on a suspended license approximately two weeks before her mother sent the drugs.

The Florida jail noticed that the envelope sent by Carroll had a chemical smell, and when they opened it, discovered a suspicious substance that turned out to be a type of synthetic opioid. Neither mother or daughter have commented on the situation, nor is it known whether either have retained counsel.

Facebook launched 'Marketplace' last week, and it didn't take long before the social media giant's answer to Craigslist devolved into an anarchic online bazaar hawking the very items banned by the company's commerce policy. Guns, drugs ... Harambe? Marketplace had it all, and Facebook has spent the last few days trying to convince everyone that it was all due to a "technical issue."

So what illegal items turned up in Marketplace before Facebook fixed the glitch? And what things should you avoid buying? Here's a quick look:

The recent trend of creepy clowns creeping people out seems to be gaining steam. Over the past week, a school dad was arrested for following his child's bus while dressed as a clown, several schools had to deal with threats relating to creepy clowns on or around campus, and one California mother reported a clown attempting to kidnap her child. Now, kids are getting in trouble for posting clown-related threats on social media, scaring locals and disrupting schools.

Clowns are supposed to cheer people up, entertain children, and joke around, but the clown pranks and crimes are not making anyone laugh. Police departments, schools, and even college students, are anxious and fearful that these creepy clowns that have been appearing around the country have violent intentions. The same is true whether a threat is made by a clown on the street or a clown on the internet.

In the weird legal news department, last week an Australian lawyer made headlines as he won his lawsuit against Domino's Pizza over a few pizzas, and a refund, that never showed up. In addition to the nearly $40 worth of food for which he was seeking a refund, he received an additional $1,100 for his legal costs in bringing the action.

While $1,200 is a far cry from the $9,000 he was seeking for embarrassment, it was certainly enough to grab headlines and make Domino's take note.

There must be something about that giant mouse mascot that just brings it out of folks. Because after a string of similar fights it was an all-out brawl in a Miami Chuck E. Cheese on Saturday, with parents pulling hair and throwing haymakers right in the middle of all those toddlers, arcade games, and greasy pizza.

Lucky for us, it was all caught on camera.

This may come as a shock to many, but if you are under federal jurisdiction in the ocean, you can go fishing with your favorite Glock. The video posted to YouTube last month by Courtland Hunt, a Floridian, shows off his prowess at shooting Lionfish with his modified Glock 9mm pistol while underwater.

Lionfish are an invasive species that Florida wildlife officials are asking fisherman to actively seek as the species is destroying reefs at an alarming rate. The video shows the extreme sports enthusiast shooting and killing a handful of the lionfish. While the lionfish feed on the reefs, the shooter makes every effort to draw the fish away from the reef before firing so as to avoid damaging the reef.

Being an inmate in a Texan prison is already bad enough, but during Banned Books Week last week, the state's institutions were under the spotlight for their censorship of canonical literary works. Apparently, Texas prisons are notorious for banning books with virtually no oversight and based on extraordinarily subjective criteria.

The Texas Civil Rights Project, a non-profit organization, has been on the front lines of the fight to change the policy within the Texas Department of Corrections and Justice. In the TCRP report, it is explained that the state's prison system in Texas basically leaves the decision of whether to ban a book up to the mailroom clerk. The TCRP report explains that mail clerks are instructed to review for whether the work in question:

Police Chief Tim Lentz, of the Covington, LA police department issued a warning to the clowns in his town to stop clowning around. This warning was in response to a disturbing new trend of creepy clowns just showing up and creeping people out in public places.

At present, creepy clowns sightings have been reported in 28 states. Due to the large response the clowns have received on social media, it is likely the trend will continue. Clowns have been advised that the police are not clowning around.