Legally Weird: Strange Law Enforcement Archives

Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Law Enforcement Category

You know how the saying goes: "Give a man a drone, and he'll strap a flamethrower on that bad boy and roast a turkey with it." (Teach a man to drone, and he'll talk turkey for the rest of his life.) And here comes the Federal Aviation Administration, trying to take away your god-given right to flamethrowing-drone-roasted turkey.

But how far does the long arm of the airplane law actually reach? Surely not into our forested backyards, where we should be free to attach any old incendiary device to an unmanned whirlybird and fly that thing all over tarnation.

Inconsistent Law Yields Bizarre Charges for Tutor Dating Teen

In an effort to protect minors, there are numerous laws enacted that criminalize adult interactions with youths, and sometimes these laws are not entirely consistent, creating strange situations. This is illustrated by a recent Houston, Texas case in which a 51-year-old math tutor is being charged for possession of child pornography for having images in his phone of a 17-year-old student with whom he had consensual sexual relations which are not illegal.

Texas law puts the age of consent for sex at 17 but criminalizes possession of lewd images of a child under 18. That means that although the tutor is not being prosecuted for touching his student, who says she willingly submitted and reportedly still wants to see him, he is charged for the photos in his phone and for allegedly cajoling her into sending them.

The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) is an online database of criminal justice information available to law enforcement agencies nationwide. Colorado has its own database, the Colorado Crime Information Center (CCIC). These databases are intended to assist law enforcement officers with criminal investigations.

Instead, some Denver cops were using the NCIC and CCIC to get phone numbers for romantic reasons, and to retrieve and hand out personal information to friends, tow truck drivers, and stalkers. And officers were rarely, if ever, getting punished for it.

Some things get better with age: a fine wine, a great book, this pun about a snickers ad campaign from the '80s. And some things don't age as well: sushi, JNCO jeans, and criminal prosecutions.

Which is why the North Dakota Supreme Court just tossed out a man's DUI conviction that came 20 years after the fact. The only things that should still be around from March of 1995 are re-airings of "Tommy Boy."

One normally doesn't think of the prison population as being especially helpful when it comes to fighting crime. But as one state Department of Corrections official said, "we've got 26,000 felons behind bars, and they know a lot."

So how do you figure out what they know? Here's an idea -- give inmates playing cards featuring cold cases, and then wait for the inmates to solve them.

Smuggler Caught With Turtles Taped to Legs Pleads Guilty

A Canadian man who was caught at the US border with 51 turtles taped to his legs last year, yesterday pled guilty to six smuggling crimes. In a Michigan federal court, Kai Xu, 27, admitted to smuggling or attempting to smuggle 1,000 reptiles in all, according to the Associated Press.

Xu has reportedly been smuggling turtles to China for a while now, and it is a relatively profitable business.

Google's Self-Driving Car Stopped by Police for Slow Driving

A Mountain View Police officer pulled over a Google self-driving care for driving too slowly last week. There was no one in the driver's seat to ticket for the vehicle's sluggish progress through a 35 mile-per-hour zone, according to the police department's blog.

But the cop did question the remote operator, even if he issued no citation. The officer stopped the car and made contact to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and "to educate the operators about impeding traffic."

DC Cop Stops Teen Fight With Dance-Off and Gains National Acclaim

A Washington DC police officer won the president's respect and lots of street credit when she defused a teen fight with some dance moves last week. The officer reportedly tried to clear an area where two teenagers were fighting when one woman walked up to her and started dancing. The officer laughed and danced back. Their moves were memorialized on video and the recording went viral, the Washington Post reported.

Police Crack Down on Driving and Drinking ... Coffee

You've done it and seen it done. People driving and drinking ... coffee. Doesn't seem like a crime, right? But it could be distracted driving, a violation of traffic rules that could get you ticketed in Minnesota.

On Monday morning, Lindsey Krieger was pulled over for sipping java while driving on I-94 in St. Paul. She told Fox 9 News, "I was completely dumbfounded. I thought it was a joke!"

The homemade clock that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed brought to school on Monday may have looked innocent enough, but his eagle-eyed teachers weren't fooled. One saw the ticking converted pencil case as "possibly the infrastructure for a bomb."

Officers were quick to respond. They immediately took Mohamed into custody before the small circuit board, digital display, and decorative tiger hologram could cause further disruption.