Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

September 2013 Archives

Google Turns 15: A Legal Look Back

It's Google's 15th birthday, and everyone is celebrating the essential search engine's quinceañera.

Google has provided some fun and frivolity with a piñata party-themed Google Doodle as well as a flashback to Google as it appeared in 1998.

But we wanted to give Google something as well. So in honor of its 15th anniversary, here are 15 legal tidbits you may have missed involving our favorite search engine:

Man Pleads Guilty to Sex With Inflatable Pool Float ... Again

An Ohio man has pleaded guilty to having sex with an inflatable pool float. As if this isn't alarming enough, Edwin Charles Tobergta was actually arrested in 2011 for the exact same act.

Tobergta, 34, was arrested in June after being caught in the throes of pool float love-making -- in broad daylight, right in front of several children, The Smoking Gun reports.

What was he guilty of exactly (besides being perhaps a bit too faithful to an inanimate object of desire)?

Real-Life 'Grand Theft Auto' Stunt Gets College Kid Arrested

A "Grand Theft Auto" enthusiast allegedly stole a truck, kidnapped a woman and hit several parked cars -- but it wasn't a game.

Zachary Burgess, a 20-year-old Auburn University lacrosse player and apparent "Grand Theft Auto" Superfan, reportedly told arresting officers he wanted to play the video game "in real life."

Welcome to the 3-D generation of n00bs.

Naked Haunted House Raises Fears of Potential Legal Issues

A haunted house in Pennsylvania has issued a naked challenge to Halloween thrill seekers: pass through the hair-raising attraction in the nude -- if you dare.

The provocative proposition (called the "Naked and Scared Challenge") is part of "Shocktoberfest" in the borough of Sinking Spring. The event will provide after-hours nude access to the haunted house this Friday for anyone 18 and older who's brave enough to "bare" it, Fox News reports.

Being naked may make you more vulnerable, but will scared patrons in the buff leave this haunted house exposed to potential lawsuits?

Condo Managers Testing Dog Poop DNA to Sniff Out Bad Owners

Have you ever stepped in a canine mudslide and had wild flights of fancy en-tail-ing dog poop DNA testing to figure out who the lazy good-for-nothing owner is? Well, a New Jersey condo complex is actually hatching your stinky "C.S.I." plot.

The Grande at Riverdale, a complex of eight four-story buildings, informed residents their dogs' mouths will be swabbed for DNA. Any dog poop found "loitering" on the property will be tested in order to fine the owners.

The first poopy offense will cost $250 and subsequent poopy fines will rise as high as $1,000.

N.C. Soldier, Wife Charged With Making Dog Porn

Shooting dog porn isn't on this North Carolina couple's criminal bucket list anymore. A soldier and his wife were arrested Monday after one spouse allegedly filmed the other having sex with a dog.

Ruben Chance James Fox and Amber Nicole Fox, both 23, were arrested by police in Raeford after cybercrime investigators in Virginia noticed the couple's alleged canine porn shoot had been posted online, The Fayetteville Observer reports.

Fortunately, the couple's dogs and cats have been relocated to a local shelter. But what will become of the alleged puppy porn publishers?

'Joking Judge' Can't Do Comedy, N.J. Supreme Court Rules

Vince Sicari, popularly dubbed the "joking judge" in New Jersey, wound up being the butt of his own jokes.

Sicari, a part-time municipal judge, moonlights as a comedian and actor. But New Jersey's Supreme Court isn't laughing.

In a (humorless) 7-0 opinion, the state's highest court unanimously ordered the joking judge to either quit his side gig or step down from the bench.

3 Men Faked Being Cops to Score 'Grand Theft Auto V': Real Cops

Three men faked being cops in order to skip a long line of eager gamers vying for a copy of "Grand Theft Auto V." That's according to the real cops who arrested the trio early Tuesday.

The three amigos allegedly pulled up outside the Staten Island Mall in a former unmarked police vehicle, flashed a badge, and claimed they were "with the NYPD," in order to saunter into GameStop and grab a coveted copy of the recently released Rockstar Games offering, reports the New York Post.

But how much "GTA V" will the three New Yorkers be playing after Tuesday's stunt?

Teacher's Aide Gives Pot to 'Principal of the Year,' Gets Busted

A Rhode Island teacher's assistant has been arrested after allegedly giving pot to his principal, as a gift for winning a "Principal of the Year" award. Christopher Sheehan, 57, was arrested at his home last Friday and is now suspended without pay pending an investigation, Rhode Island's WPRO Radio reports.

A statement from Greene Middle School in Providence claims administrators have no reason to believe that any of the students knew, nor were they affected by Sheehan's alleged pot possession.

Legally, what does this situation look like for Sheehan?

After Threesome, Man Beats Girlfriend for Having Sex Without Him

A threesome ended in a beating for one South Carolina woman, after her boyfriend punched and kicked her for continuing the lovemaking without him after he'd finished.

Terry Antone Jenkins, 25, was arrested on domestic violence-related charges for beating his girlfriend after a menage-a-trois between Jenkins, his girlfriend, and her cousin turned sour, Myrtle Beach's WMBF-TV reports.

No one likes being the third wheel in a threesome, right?

Baggy Pants Trip Up Alleged Church Robber in Fla.

A thief in baggy pants was foiled by his own sartorial choices on Wednesday, as his not-too-tight bottoms allowed a bystander to trip him up as he was making his getaway.

Anthony Jason Garcia, 31, allegedly grabbed the cash drawer from the gift shop of an Orlando-area Catholic church and tried to make a break for it -- but his pants kept falling down. Seizing the opportunity, a church maintenance worker grabbed onto Garcia's sagging pants and literally tripped him up, Reuters reports. The Good Samaritan then pinned Garcia in a wrestling hold until police arrived.

Garcia is now facing felony charges, but is this saggy-pantsed man truly guilty of robbery?

Man Wears 'Idiot' Sign for Threatening to Kill Ex-Cop

An Ohio man has been wearing an "idiot" sign in public this week, pursuant to a judge's order. It seems "public shaming" is now a sign of the times.

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey Carr ordered Richard Dameron, 58, to stand outside a local police station with a sign bearing an apology to "all police officers for being an idiot." The sign also says, "I'm sorry and it will never happen again."

What did Dameron do to warrant such an embarrassing apology?

N.Y. School Not Too Sweet on Girl's Diabetes 'Service Dog'

In a world where some adults have abused the service dog system to absurdity, a New York school district has denied a diabetic girl her "service dog" that is trained to alert her to blood sugar swings.

Eleven-year-old Madyson Siragusa has Type I diabetes, and her family scraped together $20,000 to pay for Duke, a diabetic alert dog that the Rush Henrietta Central School District will not allow in class, reports The Associated Press.

Why is the district being so sour to the girl who can't have sweets?

N.Y. Man Sues for 3rd Time to Prove He's Not Dead

A New York man has filed yet another lawsuit to establish that he's not dead. Maybe the third time will finally be the charm.

No, Juan Arias is not a zombie. Instead, the 57-year-old man was "killed off" by a hospital in the Bronx when his Social Security number, full name, and date of birth were erroneously listed on a death certificate. The body, however, was that of some other Juan Arias.

Sure, it may sound like some ridiculous 80s movie plotline, but this bizarre misunderstanding turned into a living nightmare for Arias.

In Iowa, Gun Permits for the Blind Seen as OK Under the Law

Thanks to the way Iowa's gun laws are written, the Hawkeye State is seeing a strange and controversial result: Iowa officials are issuing gun permits to blind people.

Iowa, like all other states in the nation, allow the carrying of certain concealed firearms in public with a proper state-issued permit. And Iowa law seems to agree with visually impaired Iowans like Michael Barber, who told the Des Moines Register he doesn't believe "eyesight is necessary" to properly firing a gun.

Is it really legal to allow those who can't see the right to carry around a firearm?

White Greeters Only? N.C. Church, Pastor Apologize for Email

A North Carolina pastor who asked for "only white people" to serve as greeters for services has apologized, but not before her request angered some churchgoers and members of the public.

Anticipating an increased number of visitors, Makeda Pennycooke, executive pastor of operations at Freedom House Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, sent an email to church volunteers asking for "only white people" to greet worshippers, Time reports. After all, the email said, "first impressions matter."

Less than a day later, Pennycooke sent another email to apologize for what some felt was racial discrimination. But would her original call for white greeters have passed legal muster? (Spoiler alert: Probably not.)

Cat, Dog Fall From Same 43rd-Story Balcony, 3 Days Apart

A dog and a cat both fell to their deaths from the same 43rd-story balcony of a high-rise apartment building, just three days apart, reports The Huffington Post. After an investigation, Chicago police now believe the deaths were accidental.

The apartment's tenant owned Oak the kitten, while Duke the dog belonged to the tenant's mother, stepfather, and sister, who were visiting from out of town.

Police initially looked into the pets' high-rise plummets as possible animal cruelty cases; officers "threatened to arrest me," the tenant told the Chicago Sun-Times. No charges have been filed, however.

So how does the tenant explain what happened?

Blue Man Group Hit With Blue Ball Suit

A Northern California man is suing the Blue Man Group for injuries allegedly sustained during one of the group's concerts in June 2011 when a plastic ball was launched into the audience.

Stan Michelman's suit alleges that during the blue trio's concert in San Francisco, "a large blue plastic or rubber like ball was thrown into the audience without warning to [Michelman]," which caused him "shock and injury to his nervous system," reports Marin Independent Journal.

This ballsy suit isn't the first time the Blue Man Group has faced lawsuits, but is it likely to succeed?