Legally Weird: Strange Punishment Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Punishment Category

In all our attempts to control people's behavior on social media, haven't we finally realized that social media always finds a way? Clearly not for one Florida apartment complex, which reportedly threatened tenants with a $10,000 fine for negative comments about the property.

Although the current Windmere Cay property manager denied enforcing the "Social Media Addendum," it nonetheless remained part of the complex's lease agreement as recently as this week.

Shoplifting Mom Must Write Letter to Kids, Judge Rules

An Ohio woman who plead guilty to using her children to help her steal from a Walmart store was ordered by the judge in her case to write a letter to her kids explaining that stealing was wrong.

Hallie Thomas, 36, of Logan, Ohio was caught on surveillance camera with her two daughters in March at a local Walmart concealing items in a clothes hamper, reports The Logan Daily News. When Thomas and her daughters attempted to leave the store, they were stopped by police.

Turned out this wasn't the first time Thomas and her daughters had been caught on camera stealing from the store.

This Lady Got Jail Time for Not Mowing Her Lawn. Seriously.

Keeping a well-manicured lawn is important for property values, appearances, and good old-fashioned neighborly manners. It might even be required by your neighborhood home owners' association. But is not doing so a crime?

Apparently, in Tennessee, it can be. Karen Holloway, of Lenoir City, was given a five-day jail sentence because she failed to maintain her lawn to the level required by a city ordinance. After an appeal, which included arguments about her right to counsel, the sentence was reduced to six hours, reports Knoxville's WLTV.

But still: Six hours in jail for not cutting the grass? Apparently so.

Va. Man, 27, Agrees to Vasectomy to Reduce Prison Term

A Virginia man accused of child endangerment has agreed to get a vasectomy in exchange for a reduced prison term.

To some, the plea deal recalls Virginia's dark history of forced sterilizations during the eugenics movement of the early- to mid-20th century. But according to The Associated Press, prosecutors see the deal as being the best way to keep the man in the case -- who reportedly has at least seven children with six women -- from fathering any more children.

What led to this unorthodox deal?

A Baltimore man notorious for faking seizures to escape paying his check had a hefty prison sentence put on his plate.

Andrew Palmer, 47, was sentenced to five years in prison after years of peddling his dine-seizure-and-dash routine around Charm City. The Baltimore Sun reports that his latest act, refusing to pay $89 at a restaurant called Oliver Speck's last fall, was the one that may have him spending years in prison.

How did prosecutors manage to get Palmer five years for a dine-and-dash?

Ohio Court to Deadbeat Dad: No More Kids Until You Pay Up

I hereby sentence you to... contraception? An Ohio appeals court has upheld an order by a probation judge that a deadbeat dad refrain from having kids until he pays the nearly $100,000 he owes in child support.

Asim Taylor, 35, of Elyria, was sentenced to five years probation in 2013 for failing to pay child support to his four children. As a condition of that probation, the judge ordered that Taylor have no more children while on probation.

Can a judge really do that?

A UC Berkeley law grad who killed an exotic bird in Las Vegas is getting off with probation for the bird's death.

Justin Alexander Teixeira, 25, was sentenced to up to four years of probation and 16 hours of animal shelter work per month for beheading a helmeted guineafowl in 2012, reports The Associated Press.

Did Teixeira get off easy for bird murder?

A Missouri man who'd been sentenced to 13 years in prison was released by a judge Monday, after a clerical error helped him avoid years of incarceration.

Cornealious "Mike" Anderson, 37, was convicted of armed robbery in 2000 and sentenced -- but he was never told to report to prison because of a mix-up in the court system. Instead, Anderson spent the next 13 years turning his life around, CBS News reports.

After 13 years of living a respectable life, the authorities finally caught up with Anderson and imprisoned him in July. So why did a judge decide to set him free?

Is Ohio Bully's Public Shaming a Sign of the Times?

Many people think that bullies need to be publicly shamed, and an Ohio judge certainly felt the same way.

South Euclid, Ohio Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams-Byers ordered Edmond Aviv, 62, to stand at an intersection while holding a sign saying that he bullied disabled children, according to Judge Williams-Byers also sentenced Aviv to 15 days in jail, seven months probation, and 100 hours of community service and counseling.

Aviv's public shaming stems from a disorderly conduct charge.

'TWIT Spotting' Shames Texting Drivers on Billboards, but Is It Legal?

Public shaming rises to a new level as a project called TWIT Spotting aims to post pictures of texting drivers on billboards throughout San Francisco.

Launched by Brian Singer, a graphic artist, TWIT Spotting's goal is to "freak some people out" and make them think twice before texting while driving, according to The Huffington Post.

It's obvious that texting while driving is a traffic no-no, but is it legal to publicly shame drivers by photographing them without their permission?