Legal Grounds - The FindLaw Legal News with an Attitude Blog

Recently in stupid criminals Category

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.

Theft is exhausting. Just ask Timothy Zacharie, who, after a long night of breaking into eight different cars and pilfering everything from credit cards and IDs to cash and gift cards, finally succumbed to the sweet peace of sleep in the eighth and final car, only to be roused by sheriff's deputies and hauled off to jail.

We guess it's true what they say: there is no rest for the wicked.

"If the murder is supposed to set me free," the old saying goes, "I certainly don't want to spend any time in jail."

Actually, that's not an old saying. It was Nancy Crampton Brophy in an essay entitled "How to Murder Your Husband." That was seven years ago. More recently, Brophy has been charged with actually killing her husband Daniel, who was found gunned down in a kitchen at the Oregon Culinary Institute this summer.

And they would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling aquarium goers, and staff, and surveillance video, and tips from the public...

In a robbery so brazen and ill-conceived that only the most generous would call it a heist, three Texans lifted a 16-inch horn shark from a tank at the San Antonio Aquarium, transferred "Miss Helen" to a towel-covered bucket, then wheeled her away in a baby stroller. They didn't make it far. Aquarium staff caught up to them in the parking lot, where the getaway driver had the integrity to leave his compatriots behind and speed off. He was arrested later the same day, and Miss Helen has been returned to her home tank.

With all the news of police shootings, many of which involve innocent or unarmed civilians and are caught on video, we might find it easy to rush to judgment of law enforcement officers after a firearm incident. But who among us has not attempted a backflip in bar around 1 a.m., had their handgun fall from their waistband, and then accidentally fired it into the crowd, striking a bystander in the leg?

It happens to the best of us, and it happened to off-duty, on-vacation FBI agent Chase Bishop in a Denver bar last month. The good news? The guy Bishop shot is going to be fine. The really good news? Bishop got his gun back.

The cops are on social media. We repeat: the cops are on social media.

They have access to your Facebook photos. They're getting your info from Twitter. They can use fake social media accounts to gather intel, and can even call themselves "Sweet Cheeks" to lure you into giving up your address.

Any self-respecting criminal should know the cops are all over social media these days. And yet.

As a school administrator, a good rule of thumb is to avoid so-called "scared straight" programs intended to intimidate students. Also, you don't want to invite police impersonators onto campus to carry out said intimidation. And, most importantly, you don't want to allow ersatz law enforcement to assault your students.

This may seem like common sense to you and I, but it was apparently news to the Leggett Community Learning Center, which is now being sued after a fake cop packing a real gun handcuffed and threatened to tase a child suffering from attention deficit disorder.

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. And if you send your ex a bunch of "nasty" text messages and calls in violation of a no-contact order, you'll have to write a bunch of nice about them to make up for it.

So said Maui Judge Rhonda Loo to Daren Young last week, sentencing him to write 144 compliments about his ex-girlfriend in response to the 144 text messages and calls that he was accused of sending her. (We're guessing Young has to turn this homework in to the judge, lest he continue violating the protections order.) Loo's sentence got us thinking of some of our favorite odd punishments, from the Legal Grounds archives: