Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

May 2014 Archives

'Deerly' Defrauded? 41 Charged in $5M Car-Accident Insurance Scam

Forty-one suspects have been charged for their alleged involvement in an insurance scam involving fake car accidents and piles of dead deer.

Ronald Galati Sr., the owner of a Philadelphia auto-repair shop, is accused of being the ring leader in a scheme in which false insurance claims were filed for car-on-deer collisions. According to the New York Daily News, this fraud was worth at least $5 million.

So how were these dead deer used to make a buck?

Va. Woman Runs Illegal Strip Club From Home

Patrons of an alleged illegal strip club in a Virginia home got their share of cheap thrills at the house's debauched blowouts.

Sonya Fletcher, 36, was the focus of a month-long investigation into "stripper parties" being held at her house, reports The Virginian-Pilot. But it was an apparent lack of cheap drinks that got the "club" busted by police.

What did police find when they raided this unique home-based business?

NYC Phone Thieves Take Selfie, Get Arrested

So you know, getting on the subway after a successful phone heist, but first, lemme take a selfie!

This may have been the thoughts running through the heads of two New York City teen boys who allegedly swiped a 14-year-old boy's phone and proceeded to take a selfie on it ... and send it to the boy's mother.

What charges are these two facing for their #theftselfie?

Ice Cream Man Arrested for Serving Up Meth

We've seen "Breaking Bad," but how about scooping bad?

A Bay Area ice cream truck driver was arrested after a customer told police he received a bag of methamphetamine along with his change.

Have authorities captured a real-life Gustavo Fring or is this ice cream man getting a bad rap?

Hacker to Feds: Pay Me 28K Bitcoins, 'You Lying Subhuman Garbage'

The hacker known as "weev," whose conviction was recently overturned, has sent a message to the government: "PAY ME MY MONEY, YOU LYING SUBHUMAN GARBAGE."

Andrew "weev" Auernheimer was released from federal prison a month ago, and now he wants payment for the time he spent in custody. TechCrunch reports that "weev" tweeted out his "invoice" to the federal government for 28,296 Bitcoins, and announced that he would be "filing liens upon their properties."

Is "weev" just a disgruntled hacker or is he on to something?

Man Sues Stripper Over Money, Laptop, 'Harry Potter' DVDs

Buyer's remorse or broken heart? A Houston man is suing a stripper he claims he'd been "dating" for $2,000 in alleged loans, along with a laptop and his entire "Harry Potter" DVD collection.

What was going on behind closed doors in this man's chamber of secrets and what does his now-former Hermione have to say for herself?

Ga. City's Sex-Toy Ban Is Unconstitutional, Lawsuit Asserts

A Georgia city is being sued over its sex-toy law, which a federal lawsuit alleges is unconstitutional.

The city of Sandy Springs, Georgia, has enforced an ordinance that labels sex toys as obscene and prohibits their sale without proof of non-recreational use, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But some residents have alleged that this law violates their constitutional rights.

What's the inside story on this sex-toy ban?

N.Y. Man Sues 1,000 People for $2 Undecillion, but Who's Counting?

If "$2 undecillion" dollars sounds to you like a made-up amount, you're not too far off. Although 2 undecillion is an actual number -- its a 2 followed by 36 zeros -- in dollars it represents more money than exists in the entire world.

Nonetheless, that's the amount that New Yorker Anton Purisima is seeking in damages from an equally astounding number of defendants. Along with the the City of New York, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, and a "'Latina' Dog Owner," Purisima's complaint, filed in New York's Southern District Court, also lists an eye-popping number of unnamed defendants: "Does 1 to 1000," to be precise.

What's Purisima's undecillion-dollar beef, and what are the... shall we say... legal challenges facing Purisima in securing what would potentially be a record-setting damages award?

Woman, 34, Arrested After Posing as 15-Year-Old High-School Student

Most people in their mid-30s would be hard-pressed to pass as a high school senior.

But a 34-year-old Texas woman has been arrested after posing as a 15-year-old sophmore at a local high school since last October.

How did she pull it off, and what charge is she now facing?

In '0INK' License Plate Case, Ind. Judge Orders New Rules

Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has lost a court battle over denying an "0INK" license plate, but the state may still choose to appeal.

Greenfield, Indiana, police Officer Rodney Vawter had his "0INK" vanity plate revoked when the BMV determined it was "offensive or misleading." But a judge ruled last week that the BMV was biased and inconsistent with applying its own standards, reports The Associated Press.

So what's the big deal with "0INK"?

Ohio Court to Deadbeat Dad: No More Kids Until You Pay Up

I hereby sentence you to... contraception? An Ohio appeals court has upheld an order by a probation judge that a deadbeat dad refrain from having kids until he pays the nearly $100,000 he owes in child support.

Asim Taylor, 35, of Elyria, was sentenced to five years probation in 2013 for failing to pay child support to his four children. As a condition of that probation, the judge ordered that Taylor have no more children while on probation.

Can a judge really do that?

For Vegas Bird Death, Law Grad Sentenced to Probation

A UC Berkeley law grad who killed an exotic bird in Las Vegas is getting off with probation for the bird's death.

Justin Alexander Teixeira, 25, was sentenced to up to four years of probation and 16 hours of animal shelter work per month for beheading a helmeted guineafowl in 2012, reports The Associated Press.

Did Teixeira get off easy for bird murder?

Fla. Festivus Pole-Maker Seeks Satanic Prayer at Public Meeting

Floridians may soon be hearing a Satanic prayer at a public meeting if one determined man from Deerfield Beach gets his way.

Chaz Stevens, the same man behind Florida's beer-can Festivus pole last holiday season, is now petitioning for a Satanic prayer at the next town council meeting -- or even at a session of the Florida Senate, reports The Huffington Post.

Does Stevens have a legal leg to stand on for his Satanic suggestion? Or is he just playing devil's advocate?

There are mothers-in-law. And then there are mothers... in law. No offense, but we prefer the latter.

To celebrate Mother's Day, we combed our archives and found the Top 10 legal cases involving moms.

If you think your mom's weird... she probably is. But these cases involving moms are (hopefully) even weirder:

'COPSLIE' License Plate Is A-OK, N.H. Court Rules

"COPSLIE" is now an officially sanctioned license plate in New Hampshire, after the state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

David Montenegro, who applied for the "COPSLIE" license plate, faced opposition from state law which prohibited vanity plates that "a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste," reports The Associated Press. But New Hampshire's highest court determined that this law was unconstitutionally vague.

Why did the court side with "COPSLIE"?

Anti-Gay Activist's Lawsuit to Marry Laptop Does Not Compute: Judge

A man seeking to marry his computer as a not-so-subtle legal protest against gay marriage was denied by a judge on Wednesday.

Marc Sevier sued to intervene in a same-sex marriage case in Florida by claiming that he had the "right to marry [his] preferred sexual object" -- namely, his porn-filled laptop -- much like same-sex couples were arguing for the right to same-sex marriage, reports Newser.

A judge tossed his computer-marriage motion, but Sevier isn't done yet.

Mo. Man Avoids 13 Years in Prison After 'Clerical Error'

A Missouri man who'd been sentenced to 13 years in prison was released by a judge Monday, after a clerical error helped him avoid years of incarceration.

Cornealious "Mike" Anderson, 37, was convicted of armed robbery in 2000 and sentenced -- but he was never told to report to prison because of a mix-up in the court system. Instead, Anderson spent the next 13 years turning his life around, CBS News reports.

After 13 years of living a respectable life, the authorities finally caught up with Anderson and imprisoned him in July. So why did a judge decide to set him free?

Cops to Live-Tweet a Prostitution Sting: What Could Go Wrong?

One police department in Maryland is planning to live-tweet a prostitution sting sometime this week. What could possibly go wrong?

The Prince George's County Police Department (PGPD) announced that they will blast the details of an undercover prostitution bust live on Twitter, but the department has been secretive about the details.

Why live-tweet a prostitution sting? And why not?

Fla. 'Zombie Apocalypse' Bill OKs Concealed Carry During Evacuation

Have you prepared your plan for the zombie apocalypse yet? For those of us with firearms, when that inevitable day arrives, we'll live our lives according to the immortal words of the late Charlton Heston: "From my cold, dead hands!"

Of course, in times of emergency, one doesn't want to have to deal with pesky laws. That's why Florida's legislature is considering a bill to allow its citizens to carry firearms on their person during evacuations, regardless of any other laws, concealed carry permits, or training.

And one lawmaker, recognizing the absurdity importance of the law, has submitted a small amendment, asking that the title of the law be changed to "An act relating to the zombie apocalypse."

Prisoner Sues Jay-Z, Kanye, Beyonce for $2.4B for Stealing His Songs

An ambitious prisoner is suing Jaz-Z, Kanye, and Beyonce, claiming that they stole billions in song lyrics from him.

Inmate Richard Dupree claims in his suit that the illustrious music stars (in addition to Rihanna and Chris Brown) stole 3,000 songs from him, and he's seeking $2.4 billion in damages. Dupree also alleges that the pop/rap idols were in cahoots with the CIA, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security to pull off the musical heist, reports the United Press International.

Can Dupree sue Beyonce and others for allegedly stealing his songs?