Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

November 2012 Archives

Autopsy Finds Roach-Eating Contest Winner Choked on Bug Parts

This may have been the last year for the roach-eating contest at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, after the winner died shortly after the event.

Edward Archbold ate 26 roaches to win the female ivory ball python offered as the grand prize, the Associated Press reports. But shortly after the contest ended, Archbold became ill and collapsed outside the pet store.

He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead when he arrived. The cause of death? Eating bugs, which puts the contest in danger.

'Cleaning Fairy' Gets Probation, But Legal Cleanup Continues

Your dust bunnies can rest easy, because Ohio's "Cleaning Fairy" has been sentenced to a year of probation. But that doesn't completely mop up the legal mess she's gotten herself into, the Sun-News reports.

Susan M. Warren, 53, of Elyria, was looking for something to do so when she found the door of a home in Westlake, Ohio, open and went inside. She cleaned a few things, took out the trash, and then left a bill for $75 scribbled onto a napkin. She even left her telephone number.

But the homeowner wasn't very grateful to wake up and find evidence of the Cleaning Fairy's break-in, and Warren ended up pleading guilty to charges for the May incident. This week she was sentenced.

Marijwhatnow? Seattle Police Post Guide to Legal Pot Use

Who would have thought that the police would one day post a guide on "legal" pot use. But that's what the Seattle Police Department has done in an online guide that's gone viral, entitled "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle."

The guide looks ahead to Dec. 6, when Washington's voter-approved Initiative 502 will take effect, making recreational marijuana use legal for adults over the age of 21.

With decriminalization on the horizon, here's a summary of some key points from "Marijwhatnow?":

San Francisco Takes 1st Step Toward Public-Nudity Ban

San Francisco's liberal reputation may take a hit if a proposed public-nudity ban becomes law. In a dramatic meeting Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors took the first step toward making that happen.

Currently the city allows nudity in public, but the new law would ban genital exposure in public places.

Like any local government meeting, supporters and detractors showed up to speak their mind. But because the issue was nudity, the meeting was quite a sight to behold.

Bomb-Like Watch Triggers Man's Arrest at Oakland Airport

Airport security agents are pretty sensitive about explosive devices, so it's no surprise that a bomb-like watch didn't make it through security.

Last week, Geoffrey McGann showed up at Oakland International Airport wearing a watch that looked like a timing device for an explosive. It had a toggle switch, wires, and fuses protruding from it, which attracted the attention of TSA agents.

That, combined with McGann's military-style shirt with built-in tourniquets in the sleeves and too-large shoes with a homemade cavity, raised a few eyebrows. So the TSA called in the bomb squad.

Black Friday Camper Evicted From Best Buy Parking Lot

Shoppers excited for Black Friday sales have already started camping out at their favorite stores in preparation. Or at least they've tried to.

Rhiannon Buckingham of California was No. 17 in line last year when Best Buy opened for Black Friday. She'd stood in line since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but she still missed out on a TV. This year, she wants to do better.

So Buckingham got in line outside a Best Buy in El Cajon, Calif., eight days before Thanksgiving. But her camp-out for a great deal didn't last long.

Homeless Man Jailed for Charging Cell Phone 'During This Bad Economy'

For charging his cell phone in a public park, a homeless man in Florida had to spend a night in jail because he couldn't pay his $500 bail.

Sarasota Police Sgt. Anthony Frangioni arrested Darren Kersey, 28, on suspicion of public utility theft for using a picnic shelter's electrical outlet. In his arrest report, Frangioni noted that "theft of city utilities will not be tolerated during this bad economy," the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

But given the judge's reaction the next day, it's a good bet Frangioni didn't really understand what "theft of city utilities" actually means.

Toxic Air After 9/11 Caused Erectile Dysfunction: Lawsuit

Terrorists have been blamed for a lot of things, but a man's erectile dysfunction may be a first. Steven O'Hara claims he monitored cleanup crews at Ground Zero immediately following the 9/11 attacks. As a result, he now suffers from 17 different ailments -- including a loss of his libido.

In a lawsuit against six firms involved in the Ground Zero cleanup, O'Hara claims that he breathed in "toxic smoke and fumes," despite the firms' assurances that the air was safe to breathe, reports the New York Post.

The construction worker's wife joined the lawsuit and also seeks damages for past and future suffering such as the "loss of the love, society, companionship, services, affection and support" of her husband, writes the Post.

Cop Tasers Boy, 10, for Not Washing Patrol Car on Career Day

When a cop visits for Career Day, you'd think your child would spend the day learning how to be an officer, not learning what it's like to be stunned by a Taser.

During career day at Tularosa Elementary School in New Mexico, a police officer allegedly asked a group of students if they wanted to clean his patrol car. One 10-year-old boy, identified by The Smoking Gun as R.D., jokingly said he didn't want to do it, which is a pretty reasonable response. He probably read his "Tom Sawyer."

But Officer Christopher Webb apparently didn't like that answer. He told the boy, "Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police," reports The Inquisitr. And then he showed that kid.

Woman Must Wear 'Idiot' Sign for Driving on Sidewalk: Court

For an hour on Tuesday and Wednesday, Shena Hardin wore a sign with the word "Idiot" around her neck, as part of a court-ordered punishment.

Why? Because Hardin was impatient while a school bus dropped off some children. Instead of waiting behind the bus while it was stopped, she drove her car around the bus -- by way of the sidewalk, Cleveland's WEWS-TV reports.

The driver of the bus was a quick thinker and captured the incident on video. That allowed police to find Hardin and give her a citation.

Toddler Pees in Yard; Mom Gets $2,500 Ticket

When Ashley Warden's toddler son was playing outside and needed to go to the bathroom, she was OK with him peeing in the front yard instead of wetting his pants. But a nearby cop wasn't, and slapped the 3-year-old offender's mom with a ticket, Oklahoma City's KWTV reports.

The officer issued a $2,500 ticket for Dillan's alleged public urination. It didn't matter to the cop that Dillan was on his grandmother's private property. The toddler was peeing outside, so he got a ticket.

But little Dillan doesn't have a job, so that $2,500 has to come from somewhere. It's his mom who's now on the hook.

LA's Porn-Star Condom Law Passes After Hard-Fought Campaign

Fans of legal adult pornography may never view an X-rated movie the same ever again, after Los Angeles County voters passed a ballot measure requiring condom use by porn stars.

Almost 56% of voters in Los Angeles County cast their ballots in favor of Measure B. The measure requires all porn actors to wear condoms, and requires porn producers to pay for a permit to shoot pornographic scenes, reports Business Insider.

With LA's San Fernando Valley being the unofficial porn capital of the United States, a major portion of porn produced in this country will be affected by the measure.

2 Ex-Playboy Playmates Busted in Strip Club Brawl

Two former Playboy Playmate triplets were arrested following a brawl at a strip club in Ohio.

Sisters Vicki and Sarah Satterfield were charged with assault for the fight at the Brass Pole strip club in Lorain County, Ohio, where they worked, reports The Morning Journal. They were taken to a county jail and released on bond.

The incident raises an important question: Where was the third Playboy Playmate triplet at the time of the fight?

Bright Idea?: Thieves Pilfering Porsche Headlights to Grow Pot

Porsche owners in Amsterdam have been waking up to find their cars vandalized, but the only parts missing are the headlights.

The opportunistic thieves aren't interested in the luxury vehicles. Instead, what they want are the high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights that come standard with many high-end cars.

The HID lights have an interesting use among Amsterdam's newest batch of criminals: They're taking the powerful lights so they can grow marijuana.

Could Fake Hurricane Sandy Tweets Lead to Criminal Charge?

When Shashank Tripathi sent out tweets about Hurricane Sandy and an alleged flood in the New York Stock Exchange, he probably should have added a "JK" to the end of his posts.

But he didn't, and now his tweets have critics calling for criminal charges.

During the deadly storm that wreaked havoc along much of the East Coast, Tripathi sent tweets under the handle @ComfortablySmug and stated that the New York Stock Exchange had flooded and would be closed for a week.

Tripathi's hoax tweet was picked up by news outlets and widely reported -- until it became clear the story was untrue. People, including some government officials, are now angry about the panic he caused.

Report of Woman Shot Leads to Halloween Zombie's DUI Arrest

Police received a report of a woman who appeared to have been shot in her car early Thursday morning but the story ended with cops putting a zombie under arrest for DUI.

When police arrived at the scene is certainly looked like something had gone terribly wrong. They found an SUV stopped at an intersection in Birmingham, Alabama with a woman covered in blood slumped behind the wheel.

Upon further inspection the blood was fake, part of the woman's costume as a pregnant zombie, and she wasn't dead, just passed out. Being a zombie isn't a crime but the police have enough evidence to know she'd committed a crime.

Here’s yet another reason to not take naked cell phone photos: They can easily fall into the wrong (creepy) hands, as allegedly happened to a woman in Florida.

The woman, a waitress, went to a nearby Verizon Wireless store — actually, a third-party authorized reseller, according to Tampa’s WFTS-TV. She asked a store employee to transfer data from her old cell phone to a new one.

But the employee apparently made a bad call that exposed himself, along with a coworker, to criminal charges.

Woman Sues Because Husband Placed in Wrong Crypt

An Ohio woman is suing a cemetery for placing her husband in the wrong crypt.

Barbara Brown attended the funeral of her late husband last year and noticed that something was off. The ashes of William Brown were supposed to be placed next to her parents.

Instead, the remains were placed in a crypt, three niches to the right, reports The Chronicle-Telegram. The Resthaven Memory Garden Cemetery acknowledged the error, dug up William Brown's remains, and moved them to the correct crypt.