Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strange Punishment Category

In a courtroom in the state of Ohio, DUI convicts are being required to comply with an unusual court order as part of their sentencing. In addition to fines, potential jail time, license suspension, and alcohol and driving safety courses, individuals convicted of a DUI are being required to download and activate either Lyft or Uber, the most widely used ride-sharing apps.

Judge Michael Cicconetti, of Painesville, Ohio, told local media that if ordering DUI convicts to download these services' apps saves one life, prevents one injury, or just keeps one more DUI from occurring, it's worth it. After all, as the judge noted, these apps can be downloaded and activated for free.

When a person dies, the deceased may still have some legal rights when it comes to how their body is handled and treated. In most if not all states, there are criminal penalties, as well as potential civil liability, for desecrating a dead body.

Teach a man to use a vending machine, and he'll panhandle until he can afford some potato chips. Teach a man how to use a coat hanger to rob a vending machine, and he might end up with 28 criminal convictions and behind bars on 23 separate occasions.

For Harley Busse, of Chicago, his modus operandi of stealing change out of vending machines got him a 12 year prison sentence for stealing $44 from a university vending machine. While it may not have been his first conviction, recently, the appellate court in Illinois ruled in Busse's favor, explaining that a 12 year sentence for a petty theft crime was grossly disproportionate.

Nearly every new car owner thinks, at least for a moment, about whether to get a vanity plate and what it would say. John Mitchell, a Maryland man, decided he would not only get a vanity plate, he wanted to get one with a Spanish curse word. While he was likely surprised that his requested plate was approved, he used the plate for two years before the DMV even knew what they did.

When the DMV discovered the plate had been issued in error, as vulgar language is not permitted, they cancelled the plate. Mr. Mitchell filed and lost an administrative appeal, then took the matter to the state court and lost, and appealed all the way to the state's supreme court, where he finally lost for the last time.

Not if New York has anything to say about it. The state that brought you illegal stop-and-frisk polices, while at the same time trying (and failing) to make large sodas and fantasy football illegal, is now trying to criminalize playing Pokemon Go, at least for sex offender parolees.

"While children believe they are out to catch a Pokemon," wrote New York Senator Jeff Klein, "what might really be lurking could be a predator instead of a Pikachu."

Florida Police Chief Tickets Himself for Parking Violation

If you could ticket yourself, would you? The Groveland, Florida Police Chief did just that this week, issuing himself a ticket and paying a $45 fine for parking his car on the sidewalk in violation of local laws.

Melvin Tennyson took responsibility for his failure and told reporters, "I paid my fine like anyone else would." But one local citizen disputes this, according to the Huffington Post, saying he caught the chief and shamed him into paying by posting pictures of his parking violation online.

In bad news for all of us with a malicious little 10-year-old inside us, it turns out you can't get unemployment benefits if you've been fired from your job for posting violent and sexually explicit videos featuring LEGO characters as stand-ins for your coworkers.

And courts are not gonna buy your excuse that you were using characters from movies and rap songs in your videos, and it was a mere coincidence that you used songs or movies with names similar to those of your coworkers.

It's not often that a criminal defendant will tell a judge he's being too lenient on him. But Gideon Swartzentruber is not your average defendant. Mr. Swartzentruber was caught fornicating with a female donkey and was originally sentenced to only probation.

But that wasn't enough for Swartzentruber, who insisted on jail time from the judge. The Wisconsin man got what he wanted, and will now spend the next 30 days in jail.

Muslim Teen's Family Demands $15 Million for Clock-Not-Bomb Fiasco

The Texas teen who made a clock that was mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed Mohamed,14, is asking for $15 million and an apology. Specifically, his family's lawyers sent demand letters to the city and school district that responded to the science project by panicking.

Threatening to sue within 60 days if they did not pay for the illegal detention and questioning, the Muslim family is asking for $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the school district, according to The Guardian. "Understandably, Mr. Mohamed was furious at the treatment of his son -- and at the rancid, openly discriminatory intent that motivated it," attorneys wrote in one of the letters.

NYPD Boycotts Quentin Tarantino's Film Release

Quentin Tarantino protested police brutality in New York this weekend. As a result, his films are now the subject of a protest. The NYPD is calling for a boycott of the director's upcoming release in NYC, Rolling Stone reported.

The filmmaker, known for his snappy dialogue and love of blood, joined in a rally at Washington Square Park for families of victims of police brutality. He expressed outrage over police shootings. "When I see murders, I do not stand by ... I have to call a murder a murder, and I have to call the murderers the murderers," Tarantino said of police.