Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

December 2013 Archives

Colo. Pot Shops Open Jan. 1: 5 Laws Every Toker Should Know

Colorado pot lovers are waiting with bated, somewhat haggard breath for Colorado to open its recreational marijuana shops on January 1, 2014. But there are a few rules that pot enthusiasts will want to keep in mind.

While rules can certainly be a buzzkill, these five rules will keep you on the right side of the law when purchasing pot in Colorado:

Top 10 Legally Weird Stories of 2013

If you've been dutifully reading Legally Weird (which you should!), you know some pretty dang weird things went down this year. But who was the weirdest of the weird?

Here are the Top Ten Legally Weird Stories for 2013:

New Year's Eve 'Possum Drop' Lawsuit Loses in Court

Brasstown, North Carolina, rings in the new year with its annual "Possum Drop" -- much to the dismay of animal rights activists who sued to stop the marsupial spectacle. But thanks to a local judge, the show will go on.

The tradition involves a New Year's Eve ball drop -- oh, except the ball is actually a live opossum in a box. Not surprisingly, PETA protested the event for years, culminating in a full-blown Possum Drop lawsuit.

On Monday, a court ruled in favor of the living ball drop. But why?

Sea Lion Poop Lawsuit Raises a Stink in San Diego

Some angry residents are suing the City of San Diego for a buildup of sea lion poop and the noxious odors caused by it.

The Citizens for Odor Nuisance Abatements (CFONA) have filed suit in state court, demanding that the city clean up the sea lion droppings from La Jolla Cove as well as remove a fence that keeps the public from accessing the area, reports Courthouse News Service.

Is this sea lion plop really something worth suing over?

Top 5 'Bad Santa' Arrests: A Ho-Ho-Holiday Lineup

Billy Bob Thornton isn't the only "Bad Santa" out there. A fair number of real-life Kris Kringles have been arrested for doing a number of legally naughty things.

Without further ado, here's our list of the Top 5 Bad Santa arrests in recent years:

Naked Wedding in San Francisco Gets Nude-lyweds Cited by Cops

Brides usually stress about their attire, but one San Francisco bride didn't have that problem when she celebrated her naked wedding in public.

The bride and groom were married in their birthday suits on the steps of City Hall, then moved to the sidewalk where police stepped in to issue citations, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The idea of a naked wedding probably won't shock any San Francisco residents, but for a city stereotyped by its groovy vibes, it's not as lax about nudity laws.

Walmart Dress Caused Sexless Marriage, Lawsuit Claims

A Florida Walmart shopper is suing the retail giant for selling her a dress three years ago that she blames for the lack of sex in her marriage.

Aracely Gonzalez is suing Walmart, claiming that the dress gave her "heart palpitations and a severe rash" that marked the end of "marital relations between the woman and her husband, reports United Press International.

Can you really sue Walmart for ruining your marital sex life?

Ex-Gym Teacher Sues School: Was He Fired for Being Straight?

A Manhattan gym teacher filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against a swanky Upper West Side private school, claiming that he was fired for being straight, being married, and having children. Although "Lesbian boss 'fired me for being straight'" makes for a juicy Page Six headline, this case is likely more about him having familial obligations than being straight.

But for argument's sake, let's assume that's what happened. Can you be legally fired for being straight?

Empty, Hidden Compartment in Car Gets Man Arrested in Ohio

Ohio's new "hidden compartment" law has ensnared a man driving a vehicle with a secret compartment -- even though there were no drugs or weapons inside.

Norman Gurley, 30, of Michigan, was arrested in late November after Ohio state troopers noticed wires running to the back of his vehicle. Those wires led to a hidden -- but empty -- compartment, reports Cleveland's WKYC-TV.

Is just having a hidden compartment on your car illegal in Ohio?

Prostitute Sues to Get Pot License Despite 'Moral Character' Issues

A Colorado woman was denied a medical marijuana dispensary license because of her prior conviction for prostitution. And now she's suing.

Melody Kenyon, the potential pot-repreneuse, was denied the license because the law requires the operator of a dispensary to have "good moral character," reports Kenyon is suing the city of Fort Collins, claiming the sex act that got her convicted was actually part of a Hindu religious ceremony.

Can religious claims allow Kenyon to start the a-pot-hecary of her dreams?

Boy, 11, Arrested for Punching Grandma Who Refused to Buy Toy

Ohio police recently detained a boy who punched his grandma in the face while shopping.

The 11-year-old allegedly clocked his grandmother in the nose after she refused to buy him a toy at a department store in Dayton.

With the "Lord of the Flies"-esque child now in juvenile custody, he should probably expect greater woes than a stocking full of coal this Christmas.

Santa Pub Crawlers Must Remove Beards to Be Served: NYPD

With an epic SantaCon pub crawl right around the corner, the NYPD is urging bar and club owners to keep Kris Kringles from entering their chimneys establishments unless they remove their fake beards.

Only in New York must Santa be clean shaven.

Sriracha Shipments Blocked by Calif. Health Dept.

It's been a rough year for rooster sauce. Sriracha hot sauce manufacturer Huy Fong Foods has been told by the California Department of Public Health that its sauces must be held for 30 days to comply with the state's health guidelines.

This hold effectively freezes distribution of the popular hot sauce until next year, so what's California's deal with Sriracha?

Woman Glued to Toilet Seat Sore Over 'Prank'

A north Georgia woman found herself in a painfully and literally sticky situation when it dawned on her that she was super-glued to a toilet seat in a Home Depot restroom.

She was the victim of an alleged prank but the paste plot is getting thicker.

'Festivus' Pole in Fla. Capitol Highlights Church v. State Debate

One Floridian wants there to be a "Festivus for the rest of us." He's planning to install a nearly 6-foot tall Festivus pole in the Florida Capitol's rotunda.

The aluminum pole -- which was constructed from empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans -- has attracted significant ire in the Sunshine State, as it will share the same space as a more traditional nativity scene, reports the News Service of Florida. But that's the point. Chaz Stevens, who applied for a permit to put up the traditional Festivus decoration, wants to make a statement about "the need for the separation between church and state."

Is this going to be the best or worst Festivus ever?

Are Pro Cuddlers Really Prostitutes?

Would you pay $60 for a professional cuddle? How about for a professional "cuddle"? [Wink!] Either way, your dreams may soon be dashed.

Officials in Madison, Wis., are now looking to regulate the burgeoning professional cuddling industry out of concern that the businesses are just a front for prostitution.

It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "cuddle whore."

Man Swung Genitals at Women 'in a Rotary Helicopter Motion': Cops

A cocky flasher is facing charges for allegedly "swinging" his junk at two women who were walking down the street.

The genital swingin' suspect, Shawn Harvell, 34, of Indianapolis, is facing public indecency, resisting law enforcement, criminal confinement, and battery charges stemming from an incident in which he allegedly dangled his doodle in public, "swinging it about in a rotary helicopter motion," reports Indianapolis' WRTV.

Aside from the ball-scrambling mechanics of such a move, what kind of consequences could Harvell face?

Half-Smoked Blunt in Wendy's Burger Gets Worker Arrested

Pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and marijuana: The recipe for disaster in your Wendy's burger.

One Wendy's employee in Georgia accidentally misplaced her blunt -- half-smoked, no less -- in a sammy and served it to a customer.

Unfortunately for the employee, neither her customer nor employer enjoyed her secret ingredient. She was promptly fired and arrested.

Maybe the sandwich's flavor was a little too smoky?

Electric Car Owner Charged With Stealing 5 Cents' Worth of Power

A Georgia man has been charged with theft after charging his electric car at his son's middle school -- and sucking up 5 cents' worth of electricity.

Kaveh Kamooneh, 50, had parked his Nissan Leaf outside Chamblee Middle School and began charging the car using an exterior outlet at the school while his 11-year-old played tennis, Atlanta's WXIA-TV reports. Moments later, a police officer appeared and informed Kamooneh that he would be charged with theft.

Is using a nickel's worth of power really a crime?

Burning Man Settlement Fleshed Out, but Judge Won't Sign Off

The organizers of Burning Man and the Nevada county where the festival is held have settled a lawsuit over regulating the annual event.

The deal comes a year after Black Rock City LLC ("BRC"), the organization behind the self-expressive desert festival, sued Pershing County for proposing an "obscenity" ordinance to combat nudity at the festival.

Oddly enough, the two parties are in agreement but the presiding judge is refusing to approve the settlement. Why won't he join the legal love-fest?

Caged Chimp Is a Legal Person, Habeas Petition Asserts

A New York chimpanzee is involved in a strange legal battle for both his freedom and personhood under the law.

Tommy is a captive chimpanzee who lives in a cage in Gloversville, New York. But counsel for The Nonhuman Rights Project Inc. have filed a legal petition challenging his imprisonment in state court, The New York Times reports.

How can Tommy the chimp claim to be a legal person?

10 Reasons to Vote for Legally Weird in This Year's 'Blawg 100'

Do thrive off validation? Well so do we! And dear reader, it may bring you great joy to know that your continued interest in FindLaw's Legally Weird blog is entirely justified!

This justification comes not just from our hilarious content and insightful legal angles, but from the ABA Journal -- the American Bar Association's official magazine -- which has, for the first time, included Legally Weird in its list of the Top 100 "Blawgs" in all the blogosphere.

The ABA Journal is calling for votes to settle which of the "Blawg 100" reigns supreme in 2013. So here are just 10 reasons why you should rock the online vote for Legally Weird, which you can find in the "For Fun" category: