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Recently in weird news Category

As the Advocate in Baton Rouge put it in January, when a local police chief's wife was spotted behind the wheel of his patrol car in the annual Christmas parade, it led to a few raised eyebrows. When she pulled up to the French Settlement Police Station in February, turned her headlights out, and allegedly attempted to run into an investigating officer before fleeing the scene, it led to DUI, speeding, and driving with a suspended license charges.

As the Advocate was careful to point out when reporting the latter incident, however: "She was not driving a patrol car at the time of her arrest."

Alex Malarkey was just five years old when he was paralyzed in a car accident with his father, Kevin. Alex spent two months in a coma in 2004, and after waking up, allegedly recounted a tale of being taken through the gates of Heaven, meeting angels, and talking to Jesus and the devil before returning to life.

Kevin apparently sold the story to Tyndale House Publishers, which published "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven," which, to date, has sold over one million copies. Alex, however, has recanted that version of events, and has never seen a dime from the book sales. Now 19 years old and living solely off Social Security, he is suing Tyndale House, claiming appropriation of likeness, invasion of privacy, exploitation of a person with a disability, and defamation.

Woman Wins $560M Powerball, Sues for Anonymity

You wish you had problems like this. The New Hampshire woman who hit the $560 million Powerball jackpot last month has sued the state's lottery commission -- asking to remain anonymous. Her lawsuit claims disclosure would "constitute a significant invasion of privacy."

German Shepherd Receives Unemployment Benefits

A Michigan German Shepherd is in the news after being approved for $360 a week in unemployment benefits. It's a story that inserts a cute, cuddly pet into the real-world problem of an apparent state benefits fraud scheme.

2017: The Year in Strange Law

In 2017, things got a little weird. Criminal and civil law has always attracted some odd characters and some odd scenarios, but this year seemed to take the cake.

Here are some of the oddest legal stories from 2017:

On the long list of worst news a person could receive, "Your evil twin sister that plotted your kidnapping and murder is getting out of jail" has to be right near the top. And that's the news Sunny Han might be getting if California Governor Jerry Brown approves the state Board of Parole's recommendation that Jeen "Gina" Han be released from prison.

Jeen was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, burglary, and false imprisonment in 1998 and has spent almost two decades in the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. And prosecutors aren't as convinced of her rehabilitation as is the parole board.

Are Elephants People Too?

Under the law, plenty of things are people: people are people; municipalities, states, and federal offices are people; and even corporations are people, with religious rights and all. And now, a lawyer is arguing that elephants (three specifically, at least) are people, too.

"The Nonhuman Rights Project's lawsuit on behalf of the elephants," according to Steven Wise, founder of the group and filer of the lawsuit at issue, "marks the first time in the world that a lawsuit has demanded that an elephant's legal right not to be imprisoned and treated as a thing be recognized." From whence do these rights derive? And do Minnie, Beulah, and Karen have any shot at getting the same legal rights as Hobby Lobby?

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and sometimes we just need a little break from a loved one to get some relief and some perspective. And other times we tell our wife we'd "rather be in jail than at home," walk into a bank, hand a teller a note that reads "I have a gun, give me money," and wait to be arrested.

That was 70-year-old Lawrence John Ripple's domestic situation when he robbed the Bank of Labor in Kansas City earlier this year. But the unhappy thief might not have received the punishment he wanted. Last week, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Ripple to six months of home confinement. Congratulations, Mrs. Ripple!

Yes! If you're an inmate in the medium security wing of Chicago's Cook County Jail, that is. But don't expect one of the city's iconic deep dish pies -- it's thin crust only on the menu. And you better trust your cellmate because he might be in charge of toppings -- all of the delivery pizzas are cooked by inmates in the jail's brick oven.

So the only question is: Are the guards partaking in prisoner-made pepperoni pizzas as well?

You know that feeling -- you're eight years old and craving that McDonald's cheeseburger, and you're four-year-old sister wants one too, but your parents are asleep and can't get you to the drive thru. Now, some of us might've just suffered with our hunger pangs, or tried to cobble together some cheeseburger substitute. But that's only because we lacked the ambition of one Ohio boy, who hopped into the family van with his baby sister and headed for the Golden Arches.

And they might've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling adults, who called the cops on our young heroes. But not before they got their tiny, toddler hands on those sweet, sweet cheeseburgers.