Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

September 2009 Archives

We Need a Little of That Free Health Care Over Here, Please!

The overly-contentious national debate over health care reform took a trip to the hospital -- literally -- in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday. L.A. station KTLA reported that an anti-reform activist had the top portion of his pinky bitten off in a fight with a pro-reform rallyer. (In true local-news tradition, the web version of KTLA's story comes complete with a photo of the bloody sidewalk at the site of the confrontation.)

According to KTLA, two men got into an in-your-face shoutfest during a typical rally/counter-rally over health care reform, and when the anti-reformer, William Rice, felt threatened and took a swing at his pro-reform antagonist, a good old-fashioned fistfight ensued, during which the unnamed (and ultimately un-apprehended) reformer bit off the top portion of Rice's pinky. Rice drove himself to the hospital, where efforts to reattach the digit were unsuccessful.

Judge Silences Defendant With Duct Tape

Robbery Defendant Experiences a Stick-Up of His Own

Attention Canton, Ohio, criminal defendants: best keep your mouth shut when told, or you might find yourself on the wrong end of the duct tape. A robbery defendant in Judge Stephen Belden's courtroom found that out the hard way this week, when the judge cut short their argument by ordering the bailiff to duct-tape the defendant's mouth shut.

According to an account in the Canton Repository, Harry Brown was in court for a preliminary hearing on charges stemming from an alleged fight that Brown had with security officers at a Wal-Mart store, where he was allegedly shoplifting. This led to a robbery charge and a hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to move forward with a prosecution.

Brown opened the hearing by starting an argument with the judge over whether his public defender was doing enough work on the case. Not surprisingly, this line of argument went nowhere, with Belden offering only the sure-loser alternative of allowing Brown to represent himself.