Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

January 2015 Archives

Texas School's Underwear 'Poop Inspections' Prompt Investigation

The administration at an elementary school in Gustine, Texas, was fed up with "finding poop on the gym floor," as one parent told Dallas' WFAA-TV. (Apparently, it was an ongoing problem.) They decided to get to the bottom of the caper by forcing students to pull down their pants and expose their underwear to check for poo.

Predictably, the school's actions angered parents -- along with the school district's superintendent, who said he would take "disciplinary action."

Was this independent investigation into the ca-ca caper even legal?

'The Rent Is Too Damn High' Guy Gets Eviction Notice

In 2010, New York resident Jimmy McMillan ran for mayor on the platform that "the rent is too damn high." He didn't win that election, but he did become one of the Internet's most popular memes, along with his Franz Josef beard and ubiquitous gloves.

It looks like McMillan won't have to worry about his rent anymore. Earlier this week, he was evicted from his rent-stabilized apartment in New York's artsy East Village, the New York Daily News reports.

Fake 'Mister Softee' Ice Cream Truck Loses Trademark Lawsuit

At long last, a New York menace has gotten the punishment he deserved. No longer will the citizens of the Big Apple be victims of this terror.

Thanks to a federal judge, Mister Softee is off the street.

Well, not really. A fake Mister Softee is off the street. The real, legitimate Mister Softee continues to roam free, as he should.

Teen Arrested for 'Threatening' Cops via Gun Emojis on Facebook

They might be confusing, they're sometimes irritating, and depending on how this case turns out, they might also be threatening. Osiris Aristy, 17, of Brooklyn, was arrested on Sunday after he threatened police with ... with what?? A knife? A gun?

Nope: Emojis. In a Facebook post on December 12, Aristy posted photos of himself captioned with gun emojis pointed at a police officer emoji. For that, the juvenile was charged with making terrorist threats, as well as marijuana and weapons possession, Gothamist reports.

Injured Rescuer Sues Teen Who Needed Rescuing

As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Volunteer rescuer Nick Papageorge's IV (not a typo; that's apparently his real name, though the Los Angeles Times spells it without the "s" or the apostrophe) was injured in April 2013 when he went searching for two missing hikers in Cleveland National Forest (which is actually about an hour east of San Diego, for some reason).

Papageorge's fractured his spine after falling off a 110-foot cliff while looking for 18-year-old Kyndall Jack and 19-year-old Nicholas Cendoya. The pair had disappeared during their hike -- which, according to the lawsuit, wasn't so much a "hike" as a "trip into the woods to smoke meth."

So how is it that the missing hikers can be on the hook when someone else gets injured rescuing them?

Man Bulldozes Home Without Telling Wife; Gets Arrested

A New York man is facing criminal charges after bulldozing the home owned by his wife in which the couple lived.

Tearing down your own house, though questionable, is not typically a crime. In this instance, however, police say that the man, 48-year-old James Rhein, never told his wife about his plans for destroying her home and everything in it, reports New York's WNBC-TV.

Now Rhein is facing both the legal and marital consequences for his rash decision.

Man Cited for Eating While Driving: Is That Really Illegal?

An apparently hungry driver was issued a citation for "eating while driving" after an officer saw him eating a cheeseburger while behind the wheel.

Madison Turner says he purchased a cheeseburger at a McDonald's in Marietta, Georgia, but was pulled over while eating it a few minutes later, reports Atlanta's WSB-TV. The officer reportedly told Turner that he had been observing him eating the cheeseburger for 2 miles. "He said specifically three times, you can't just go down the road eating a hamburger," Turner told WSB.

Is it really illegal to eat while driving?

Man Points iPhone at NYPD Officers, Gets Arrested

NYPD officers arrested a man Tuesday for allegedly pointing his iPhone at the officers as if it were a gun and imitating gunshots.

The incident occurred while the two uniformed officers were at a stoplight, New York's WCBS-TV reports. A car being driven by 32-year-old Unique Johnson pulled up just shy of the passenger side door; when the officer in the passenger seat turned to look, he saw what appeared to be a weapon pointed directly at his head.

"I absolutely thought we were dead," one of the officers said in an NYPD press release.

Baker Who Spiked Granola With Metal Nuts Wanted a Break: Cops

An employee at a Michigan bakery was arrested after allegedly throwing metal nuts and bolts into a granola bar mix.

According to a police affidavit, Ruben Gramajo, a 22-year-old baker at Hearthside Foods in Kentwood, Michigan, was caught on camera dumping a handful of metal objects into the granola, reports The Grand Rapids Press. In a written confession to police, Gramajo allegedly said he threw the objects in the granola in order to get a break from work.

Gramajo just might get his wish, but probably not in the way he imagined. What punishment could Gramajo be facing if convicted for his alleged crime?

This Week in DWI, It's ... Vanilla Extract?

Another day, another "person arrested for drunk driving" story. Whatever. Dog bites man. Move on.

Well, here at FindLaw's Legally Weird, we hope you know by now that a person isn't just drunk; we wouldn't be blogging about him unless he ate the Breathalyzer results, or he drunkenly fell down while urinating and sued for workers compensation, or he got drunk and stole an airplane.

So what's the catch in this week's "drunk person" story?

Arrest Warrant Issued for 9-Year-Old Boy Accused of Stealing Gum

Failing to appear for a court hearing can lead to some harsh legal consequences, frequently including a bench warrant, even if the original crime was banal. Normally, a bench warrant wouldn't make the news.

But this is no ordinary bench warrant. Police in Post Falls, Idaho, were shocked to receive an arrest warrant for a 9-year-old boy. What did he allegedly do to merit getting arrested?

Attempted Shrimp Thief Gets 3 to 5 Years in Prison

If you walk into a supermarket and put $300 worth of frozen shrimp into your cart, you'd better pay for it before you leave.

John Pinard of Worcester, Massachusetts, thought he could get away with the heist (which, as we recently explained, would be properly called a "burglary"). But his attempted shrimp-swiping quickly turned from a standard-issue theft into a bit of a fiasco.

N.M. Woman Sues Over 1970 Yearbook Photo on Novelty Flask

A New Mexico woman has filed suit against the makers of a novelty flask after discovering that the flask featured her yearbook photo from 1970.

Veronica Vigil's daughter originally found the flask while vacationing in Florida, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. Along with Vigil's photograph, the flask features a caption reading, "I'm going to be the most popular girl in rehab!" As you might imagine, Vigil -- who now runs an auto-restoration business with her husband -- took umbrage with this use of her image.

But what can she do about it legally?

Pet Shop Owner Accused of Battery With a Bearded Dragon

The owner of a Florida reptile store is facing criminal charges after allegedly slapping employees with a bearded dragon, putting the animal in his mouth, and swinging it in the air.

Benjamin Siegel, the 40-year-old owner of Siegel Reptiles in Deerfield Beach, was arrested and charged with battery and animal cruelty, reports The Sun-Sentinel. Siegel's bizarre reptile assault was reportedly captured on the store's video surveillance system.

And as you may recall, this isn't the first time Siegel and his store have made strange headlines.

'Pot of the Month' Club Delivers in S.F., but Is It Legal?

Subscription services are, in the words of Mugatu, "so hot right now." Pay a monthly fee and you can have clothes, vegetables, and toilet paper delivered right to your door.

Is there anything left to be delivered to your door? Turns out there is: marijuana. A subscription service in San Francisco will personally deliver a curated selection of marijuana to you every month.

But is this pot-of-the-month club even legal?

Is It Illegal to Mail Poop?

Poop typically doesn't arrive via delivery or in your mailbox, but when it does, it can be breaking news.

For example, an Iowa woman is facing criminal charges for allegedly mailing cow feces to her neighbors in response to their complaints about her dog barking. According to United Press International, the woman is now facing third-degree harassment charges, and must appear in court on Tuesday.

So is it illegal to mail poop to someone?

Shoplifting Mom Must Write Letter to Kids, Judge Rules

An Ohio woman who plead guilty to using her children to help her steal from a Walmart store was ordered by the judge in her case to write a letter to her kids explaining that stealing was wrong.

Hallie Thomas, 36, of Logan, Ohio was caught on surveillance camera with her two daughters in March at a local Walmart concealing items in a clothes hamper, reports The Logan Daily News. When Thomas and her daughters attempted to leave the store, they were stopped by police.

Turned out this wasn't the first time Thomas and her daughters had been caught on camera stealing from the store.