Legally Weird: Strange Courtroom Behavior Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Courtroom Behavior Category

An already strange case of a suspected bank robber got down right stinky last week, when the defendant began eating his own feces while on the witness stand Wednesday.

Andrew Gilbertson of (shockingly) not Florida, is on trial for robbing a bank in San Luis Obispo. Gilbertson's sickening snack brought his trial to a temporary halt while the judge called for a recess, presumably to clean the courtroom.

A Florida man accused of killing his roommate used his iPhone to ask Siri how to hide the dead body, according to evidence presented at trial.

Strangely, the Palm Beach Post reports that Siri actually responded to Pedro Bravo's request, giving suggestions like: "Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps."

Aside from wondering what Apple's programmers might have been thinking, can this sort of Siri "testimony" be evidence against Bravo?

Graffiti Suspect Tags Courthouse Where His Case Was Being Heard

Sheriff's deputies investigating graffiti at a San Diego County courthouse didn't have too look far to find their suspect. The prolific alleged tagger had been in court just two months earlier facing charges of -- you guessed it -- vandalism.

Francisco Canseco, 18, was arrested again last week, after officers obtained a search warrant for his San Diego home and found graffiti-related supplies that linked him to the courthouse vandalism, reports KNSD-TV. Canseco allegedly tagged several areas inside the courthouse, including the courtroom where his case was being heard.

How exactly were authorities able to link Canseco to the courthouse graffiti?

A Kansas murder suspect wants to cover up his "MURDER" neck tattoo prior to trial, but there are some legal and logistical problems in his way.

Jeffrey Chapman has been charged with the 2011 murder of Damon Galliart, whose body was found by hunters, reports Wichita, Kansas' KWCH-TV. Chapman and his attorney worry that the tattoo may prejudice jurors in his upcoming murder trial.

While it may be difficult to muster up sympathy for a murder defendant whose tattoo literally screams "MURDER," Chapman isn't without options.

Crime Stoppers Exec Eats Evidence, Gets Jail Time

The director of a Florida Crime Stoppers program in Miami is heading to jail for eating evidence. Yeah, eating evidence. And it wasn't a weed brownie.

Richard Masten, the executive director of Miami-Dade's Crime Stoppers hotline, swallowed a piece of paper containing important information in protest of a court order.

So why was he sentenced to jail?

Burning Man Settlement Fleshed Out, but Judge Won't Sign Off

The organizers of Burning Man and the Nevada county where the festival is held have settled a lawsuit over regulating the annual event.

The deal comes a year after Black Rock City LLC ("BRC"), the organization behind the self-expressive desert festival, sued Pershing County for proposing an "obscenity" ordinance to combat nudity at the festival.

Oddly enough, the two parties are in agreement but the presiding judge is refusing to approve the settlement. Why won't he join the legal love-fest?

Judge in 'Baby Messiah' Case Faces Disciplinary Charges

As we predicted would happen, baby "Messiah" got to keep his birth-given name after all. What we didn't predict are the disciplinary charges the judge is now facing.

In August, Tennessee Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered a baby's name changed from "Messiah" to "Martin," saying the former was reserved for the original JC (as in Jesus Christ). Ultimately, another judge deemed Ballew's ruling unconstitutional and restored the child's name to Messiah. (Hallelujah!)

Now Ballew is facing formal disciplinary charges for expressing an inappropriate religious bias.

'Joking Judge' Can't Do Comedy, N.J. Supreme Court Rules

Vince Sicari, popularly dubbed the "joking judge" in New Jersey, wound up being the butt of his own jokes.

Sicari, a part-time municipal judge, moonlights as a comedian and actor. But New Jersey's Supreme Court isn't laughing.

In a (humorless) 7-0 opinion, the state's highest court unanimously ordered the joking judge to either quit his side gig or step down from the bench.

Dad Wears Nazi Uniform for Child Custody Court Hearing

Fit for a Tarantino film, a Nazi dad in the middle of a child custody battle donned a Nazi uniform in court.

The dad, Heath Campbell, "suited up" in a New Jersey courthouse to petition a family court judge to allow him to see his youngest son, reports Philadelphia's WCAU-TV.

The father claims he lost custody of three older children because he gave them Nazi-inspired names. But the state says there was previous violence in the home.

Word on the street says that courts nationwide are turning to Urban Dictionary to fill the gaps in their knowledge of slang, leaving some of us to wonder: Is Urban Dictionary a real thing now?

If actual adult judges -- the professional ones charged with interpreting the laws that govern our society -- are treating this website like it's Webster's, then maybe it is a real deal.