Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

May 2010 Archives

"I'll Be Back" The O'Keefe-inator Promises After Sentencing Hearing

James O'Keefe, citizen journalist and stander-up to power, was sentenced in a federal courtroom on May 26 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Federal magistrate Daniel Knowles III accepted guilty pleas on misdemeanor charges of entering federal property under false pretenses from O'Keefe and his cronies, Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan.

Man Acquitted of Murder, Waaaaay After the Fact

On Monday, May 21, a Philadelphia jury acquitted a man of murder. One may ask, why the acquittal? That the victim died after being shot by the defendant, there was no question. One small additional fact, the victim died 41 years after the shooting occurred

Arson Charge: Man Sets Own Home on Fire Because of Late Dinner

Guy Edward Jones just couldn't wait to eat and that landed him jail on an arson charge.

Authorities say that when he came home for a late dinner and his wife didn't have it on the table, the 60-year-old man got so angry he allegedly set his own house on fire.

Teen found Not Guilty of Disorderly Conduct for McDonald's Rap

A Utah teenager was found not guilty of disorderly conduct after his "Fastfood Freestyle" rap at a McDonald's drive-thru.

Spenser Dauwalder, 18, attempted to place his order by rapping into the speaker a McDonald's drive-thru and was cited with an infraction for imitating a popular YouTube video "I need a double cheeseburger and hold the lettuce," the Associated Press reports.

Mojave War Cross Reappears

The Supreme Court heard the case of the Mojave War Cross in 2009 and recently ruled in a narrow opinion that the cross could stay. The cross in question was first placed on Sunrise Rock by Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1934, to honor WWI troops. A former park employee sued, arguing that the cross was a religious symbol and was an unconstitutional government endorsement of Christianity. In order to attempt to save the memorial, Congress transferred the piece of land the cross stood on into private hands.

The issue was debated on CNN's Lou Dobbs in 2009, as shown here:

New Jersey Says No BIOCH Vanity License Plate

A New Jersey woman was proud of a vanity license plate that had become her calling card. Wherever she would go, people knew her thanks to the word "BIOCH" on her license plate. The term, slang for b**ch, was a joke that according to the owner, was well received around her town of Manville, New Jersey. 

Woman Gets $2,000 Cash from Taco Bell Drive Through

Taco Bell recently introduced its new $2 dinner value meal as a cheaper choice in a tough economy. But one customer got a lot more than what she bargained for -- $2,000 in cash.

That was the case with the young woman in her 20's who who got cold, hard cash instead of burritos at a Taco Bell drive through, the Dayton Daily News reports.

Damn! That Could Get You 90 Days In PA

"#!$&." That comment can get you a $300 fine and up to 90 days in the slammer in Pennsylvania, where according to the Penn state chapter of the ACLU, the local police don't know the difference between obscenity and profanity. You don't either? Here is the most important thing to know; obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, profanity is. That, and the fact that the government is not permitted to punish one of its citizens for lawful use of protected speech.

87-Year-Old Caught Selling Crack to Undercover Cop

Drug dealers can come in all ages.

Take for example, Ola Mae Agee, who was caught on tape selling crack cocaine to an undercover cop, the Pensacola Journal reports. She is 87.

Adam Wheeler: Student Fakes Way to Harvard College Acceptance

Frank Abagnale, Jr. began his famous autobiography, Catch Me If You Can, by saying that "a man's alter ego is nothing more than his favorite image of himself." One can only wonder if Adam Wheeler was thinking the same thing when he allegedly created an elaborate scam that included faking his way into a Harvard College acceptance.  

Is the 'Geezer Bandit' Really A Geezer?

According to the latest news, the Geezer bandit may not be a geezer after all. His wrinkled skin, age spots, and oxygen tank may be only an elaborate disguise. In addition, the "senior" bank robber now has nearly 500 fans on two different Facebook fan pages.

But while the Geezer Bandit has found fame and fans on Facebook, authorities are beginning to think the geriatric bank robber has been carrying on a charade, the San Diego Tribune reports.

Balloon Boy Parents Get Balloon Back

Richard Heene, the father responsible for the balloon boy hoax, will get his runaway balloon back after all.

The runaway UFO-like balloon that was said to be carrying his 6-year-old boy, Falcon is back in the hands of the parents who pleaded guilty to the hoax, the Associated Press reports.

Update: Hawaii Gov. Lingle Signs "Birther Bill"

Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed a bill into law on May 12 that will allow Hawaii state agencies to ignore you. Well, not always. Only in the case of repeated, duplicative requests. This may be the state's last, best effort to control the waste of time and resources caused by constant "birther" requests to the Hawaii Department of Health for President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Police Arrest Alleged Toilet Paper Bandit

Police in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, have arrested the man who allegedly robbed a convenience store wearing a toilet paper mask.

Because of his clever disguise, the suspect has been called the "Toilet Paper Bandit" as the toilet paper mask was wrapped around his head to conceal his identity. According to the Journal-Star, police arrested Joshua Nelson, 29, who was charged with robbery and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Happy Mother's Day: Man Allegedly Hides Gun under Baby

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Jamaar A. Bellamy must have been desperate when he was pulled over by Indianapolis police on Mother's Day, because he allegedly hid his gun underneath a one-year-old baby in the backseat.   

Walmart SSSSSued over Snake Bite

It came from the swamps of Florida. Then, it went shopping at Walmart. We are speaking here, of course of a large, black snake who happened to bite a customer while she, or it, was doing the family shopping at the Walmart Garden Center in Jacksonville, Florida.

Man Convicted on Gun Charges after Shooting Himself in the Groin

A Colorado man was convicted on gun charges after shooting himself in the groin.

David Leroy Blurton claims he was trying to fight off a mugger when he fired a handgun into his groin at a local parking lot.

A federal court has reinstated a lawsuit by a former Michigan inmate who claimed he could not afford to buy toothpaste while he serving time in prison.

Jerry Flanory, 58, claims he that he was denied toothpaste for nearly a year and could not afford to buy it own his own. A federal appeals court however, said that Flanory may proceed with his lawsuit alleging that his constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment were violated, the Associated Press reports.

Woman Tries to Rob a Bank with Cop Standing in Line

Think fast.

What do you do if you're trying to rob a bank with a note and you realize there is a uniformed officer standing in line behind you?

The Last Laugh: Comedian's Jokes Are Protected Speech

A standup comedian, Sunda Croonquist, can continue telling jokes about her mother-in-law as they are protected speech. Now, she gets the last laugh.

A judge sided with the comic who is half-black, half-Swedish and threw out the case brought against her for making her Jewish mother-in-law the butt of her jokes in her stand-up routine, the Associated Press reports.

For background on the lawsuit and to see the original complaint, see FindLaw's Courtside.

Man Takes Last Swig before Sobriety Test

A Florida man was pulled over by police for a DUI but decided to take one last swig before his field sobriety test.

Police say they saw Dana Allen Seaman's vehicle swerve three times, the reports. The 61-year-old man was stopped and agreed to take a field sobriety test.

'Robin Hood' Bank Bandit Gives Away $100 Bill

A Columbus Ohio man who robbed a bank and gave away a $100 bill to strangers has earned himself a nickname.  

Police are now seeking the "Robin Hood" bandit who allegedly robbed a bank near downtown Columbus and then handed out a $100 bill to passers-by as he ran away, the Associated Press reports.  

Emergency: Oakland Has Run Out of Medical Marijuana

Sometimes the Legally Weird headlines write themselves. 

The city of Oakland has declared a "local public health emergency" due to a lack of medical cannabis. This might seem perplexing to some, as Oakland is not known for a shortage of actual emergencies. 

Georgia Man Arrested for Allegedly Selling Fake Movie Posters

Although Kerry Haggard was selling fake movie posters, the horror was real.

The Georgia-based dealer, accused of selling $1 million worth of fake vintage horror movie posters over the Internet, has been arrested by federal authorities on mail fraud charges, the New York Times reports.

Man Robs Convenience Store Wearing a Toilet Paper Mask

Police in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, are looking for a man who robbed a convenience store -- wearing a toilet paper mask.

Authorities are searching for a suspect who came into the store with a knife and demanded money wearing a toilet paper mask wrapped around his head to conceal his identity, the Journal-Star reports.