Legally Weird: Strangely Legal Archives
Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Strangely Legal Category

New York's highest court has ruled that a marriage between a half-uncle and his half-niece does not violate New York law.

The case involved a 19-year-old woman from Vietnam who married a 24-year-old naturalized American citizen. An investigation by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services uncovered that the man's half-sister was his wife's mother and an immigration judge subsequently ruled that the marriage was void and ordered that the woman be deported.

However, the New York Court of Appeals ruled this week that the marriage did not violate New York's laws against incestuous marriage. Why not?

A Long Island woman who broke up with her boyfriend can keep the $10,000 ring he gave her, even though he called it an "engagement" ring, a New York judge has ruled.

New York, like many other states, typically requires women to return engagement rings in the event a proposed marriage is broken off, reports The New York Post. However, 48-year-old Debbie Lopez successfully argued to keep the ring given to her by her ex-boyfriend in 2010, despite having broken off the relationship in 2012.

How did Lopez succeed in keeping this pricey piece of jewelry?

A New Mexico man has won the right to toke medical marijuana on his employer's dime, as a New Mexico court ruled that his prescription pot must be covered by worker's comp.

Gregory Vialpando, 55, was a mechanic with Ben's Automotive Services, and his employer and its insurer, Redwood Fire & Casualty, refused to reimburse him for using medical marijuana as treatment for a back injury. Reuters reports that Tamar Todd, a staff attorney with the Drug Policy Alliance, believes this case may be "fairly unique" in allowing a worker to be paid for his medical cannabis.

How did prescription pot get covered, and is Vialpando's case likely to be emulated in other states?

When it comes to choosing an arch-nemesis, a 12-year-old boy selling lemonade and cookies from a front-lawn card table seems like a peculiar choice.

But a Florida man seems determined to shut down a neighborhood boy's pop-up lemonade shop, claiming the lemonade stand is an "illegal business" that reduces the value of his home, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

How are the neighbor's complaints going over with local authorities?

Burning Man is almost upon us, and eager Burners may not know a few very important legal facts about partying on the Playa.

For many, Burning Man is a symbol of freedom from authoritarian rule, social restrictions on dress, and inhibitions regarding drug use. But while it may feel like a pocket universe, it's actually still in Nevada... in the United States. And it's still subject to many laws.

So don't be a legal sparkle pony, know these five Burning Man legal facts before you hit the Playa:

British bride-to-be Alex Lancaster was shocked when she got the call from her future father-in-law telling her that her American fiance Tucker Blandford had committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a car.

But Lancaster was no less shocked when, upon calling Blandford's parents house only a few hours later, she discovered that Tucker was actually quite alive, reports the UK's Daily Mirror. Blandford had apparently gotten cold feet about the couple's engagement. But instead of calling off the wedding, he decided to call his fiance and pretend to be his own dad; not exactly the most well-conceived plan.

Beyond just being a bad idea, is faking your own death actually legal?

It's either one heck of a way to celebrate "Shark Week" or some good old fashioned synchronicity: A church in Texas cooked up 75 pounds of shark meat taken from a whopping 809-pound tiger shark donated to the church earlier this month.

The meat fed about 90 homeless and needy parishioners at Timon's Ministry in Corpus Christi, reports The Associated Press. The 12-foot shark was the largest fish ever donated to the church, and took the fisherman who caught it more than seven hours to reel in.

But while the shark feed was certainly a noble gesture (except in the eyes of the shark, perhaps), was it legal?

An Arizona transgender man, known by news outlets as "Pregnant Man," has been granted the right to divorce his wife by an Arizona appellate court.

Thomas Beatie, 40, legally changed his gender to "male" in Hawaii before he married his wife in 2003, reports The Arizona Republic. Although Beatie could still bear children, and Hawaii prohibited same-sex marriage, the state considered his marriage valid. However, after Beatie and his wife moved to Arizona, they found they could not get a divorce because of the state's refusal to consider their Hawaii marriage valid.

What why did the Arizona Court of Appeals decide to grant "Pregnant Man" his divorce?

A selfie taken by an Indonesian monkey with a wildlife photographer's camera is raising some interesting copyright law questions.

British wildlife photographer David Slater was in Indonesia in 2011 when he set up his camera equipment to photograph a crested black macaque monkey, reports The Huffington Post. The monkey then grabbed Slater's camera and began taking photographs, including a surprisingly decent selfie.

When this monkey selfie was posted online and began going viral, Slater assumed that he owned the copyright to the image. But one of the Internet's largest websites is now claiming that the monkey selfie actually belongs to everyone. What gives?

The "Ground Zero cross" gleaned from the wreckage of the World Trade Center can remain at the 9/11 memorial site despite concerns about church-state division.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2013 ruling allowing the steel-reinforced cross to stay at Ground Zero, finding that despite its likeness to the Christian symbol, its purpose is secular, reports Reuters. An atheist group has been fighting the inclusion of the "cross" as a publicly funded religious symbol in state and federal courts.

Is the Ground Zero "miracle cross" here to stay?