Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog


In what other state in this great nation would a sheriff's deputy package toy dynamite in a box, insert a note saying "Boom," and use interoffice mail to send it to his lieutenant as a prank? Former Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy James Piper, a 59-year-old with 35 years on the force did just that, leading to the evacuation of the administration building and his own resignation.

Apparently not everyone thinks fake bombs are funny.

Most of us know what we're getting with a veggie or "garden" burger. Tofurky? Not that confusing. After all, the makers of vegetarian animal flesh alternatives would have a tough time reaching their target audience if those alternatives sounded too much like the real thing.

Still, the State of Missouri wants to save you from trying to eat meat and eating a plant instead. State lawmakers passed a bill that prohibits "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." And if you call non-meat "meat," you could be facing a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

"My supervisor and I have verified that New Mexico is a state."

Not exactly what you expect to hear from a marriage clerk. Perhaps from a middle schooler clowning around in a geography class, but not a civil servant in our nation's capital. But that's apparently what Gavin Clarkson was told after a back-and-forth with a D.C. Marriage Bureau clerk last month that included the clerk asking to see Clarkson's "New Mexico passport."

Oof.

Look, we're not saying the New York Jets are a good football team or even an above-average one. The team hasn't made the playoffs since 2010, and has been the butt of jokes for years. In fact, you probably shouldn't ever watch the Jets -- not if they show up on ESPN highlowlights; not if they're playing against your favorite team; not even if you've been a lifelong fan.

What we are saying is that, from a strictly legal standpoint, "I drank too much because the Jets suck!" is not going to get you out of a DUI conviction.

Man Sues to Lower Age by 20 Years

Dismayed by the Tinder prospects for a 69 year old male, Emile Ratelband, a resident of the Netherlands, has petitioned the court to allow him to legally lower his age by 20 years. According to his reasoning, "We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can't I decide my own age?" Though this seems utterly laughable, perhaps it is an interesting philosophical debate to have over a beer or two.

We all want to celebrate Halloween in our own way. And for some of us, that means thousands of dollars in scary costumes and spooky decorations. That's all well and good, as long as we're actually paying for it.

But a New Mexico couple went on a Halloween shopping spree, all with stolen credit card numbers. And they would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for some sharp costume shop employees.

Perhaps Jason Anderson and Luz Ortega thought they were outsmarting Tarvares Hargrave by cheating him during a drug sale. Maybe they thought they were outsmarting the cops by not actually having drugs for sale. And maybe they didn't even know what they had for sale wasn't drugs. Either way, the couple's plan backfired in the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, as all three were arrested for trafficking 10 bars of Ivory soap.

Yep.

In the United States, we normally have a clear separation of powers: the legislative branch makes the laws, the judicial branch interprets them, and the executive branch enforces them. But every now and then, when one branch isn't around to help, another has to step in. Or, in this case, run down.

Absent any help from a court bailiff or sheriff's officers, Judge R.W. Buzzard leapt from behind his bench during a court hearing, ripped off his judicial robe, and chased after two handcuffed inmates as they tried to make their escape. And he nabbed one of them.

In July, a California woman filed a lawsuit against Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, claiming his black dog charged at her and her yellow lab, knocked her into traffic, and caused physical, mental, and emotional pain, worry, and anxiety. Last week, Trebek filed his response, answering the plaintiff's bark with plenty of legal bite.

Trebek denied any liability for the woman's injuries, and instead claimed she "placed herself in a position of danger ... and thereby assumed all the risks." Here's a closer look.

We're living in the information age, and there is probably no bigger online information-sharing forum than Facebook. So it was that Springfield resident Dustin Barnes, a knowledgeable man with vital knowledge to share, took to Facebook to instruct others in the modern art of ankle monitor removal.

"This is how you take an ankle bracelet off," Barnes elucidated in a Facebook video already viewed by thousands, "without breaking the circuit." And while uploading educational materials to the internet might not be a crime itself, tampering with electronic monitoring equipment is a felony in the state of Missouri. Thus, our learned lecturer was arrested.