Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

September 2015 Archives

For the past few years, immigration officials have focused on deporting immigrants who commit crimes. Convictions for drug offenses or sex offenses, aggravated felonies, weapons possession, and crimes of moral turpitude could all get a legal immigrant deported to his or her home country.

But can owing over $84,000 in child support get you deported? To heaven? That's what one "sovereign citizen" was wondering in an Alaska courtroom last week. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Selfie Stick Deaths Reveal Dangers of Narcissism and Tech

Narcissus was killed when he gazed lovingly at his own reflection in a pool of water and drowned. Now technology has brought Greek mythology to life.

Twelve people died from selfie-stick-related deaths in 2015, and that is just known cases. Let's take a look at these sticks and the safety hazards they present.

Food Fight: PETA Sues Whole Foods for False Claims on Humane Meat

Morrissey sang that meat is murder, and PETA couldn't agree more. But shoppers at Whole Foods could long console themselves that their cuts came from friendlier farms than most. Now People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is suing the posh supermarket chain, claiming that its humane meat rating system is a farce.

PETA, in a class action lawsuit filed in California on Monday, says that Whole Foods barely surpasses national meat standards and is deceiving shoppers. Animals are living in poor conditions, despite the five-step rating system which grades suppliers based on their creatures' quality of life, among other factors. Whole Foods, meanwhile, believes that PETA manipulated a pig farm video posted to prove the suit's validity.

Daytime Dog Visitor Is Not an Illegal Tenant for Eviction Purposes

Daytime dog visits do not amount to pet harboring, says a Bronx judge. A New York civil court found that tenants did not violate a settlement agreement or their lease by allowing their sister's dog to visit periodically during the day.

Cookie, a Pomeranian recently registered as a service dog, has been the subject of a protracted landlord-tenant dispute. But the landlord lost his eviction case after his witnesses admitted at an evidentiary hearing that they never heard the dog bark at night.

The job of a jail guard shouldn't be too complicated -- make sure the inmates don't escape and don't hurt anyone. Oh and, if one inmate is testifying against another in a murder trial, maybe don't put them both in the same jail cell.

An Ohio guard didn't get that second piece of advice, apparently, and it didn't take long for the murder suspect and the witness against him to come to blows.

Alabama Authority Proposes Baggy Pants Ban Because God

God is talking to authorities in Alabama about fashion. A Dadeville councilman is proposing a dress code that bans baggy pants because "I prayed about this. I know God would not go around with his pants down."

Colleagues supported Frank Goodman's proposal, introduced at a Dadeville City Council meeting last month. But this week, one council member concerned about fairness added a new wrinkle to the dress code proposal, local paper Alex City Outlook reported.

The homemade clock that 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed brought to school on Monday may have looked innocent enough, but his eagle-eyed teachers weren't fooled. One saw the ticking converted pencil case as "possibly the infrastructure for a bomb."

Officers were quick to respond. They immediately took Mohamed into custody before the small circuit board, digital display, and decorative tiger hologram could cause further disruption.

Get Off My Graff: Banksy's Valuable Vandalism Spurs Property Fight

The street artist Banksy has generated much brouhaha in the two decades that he's been painting the world's walls and replacing museum classics with his own fakes. He has inspired outrage, copy cats, and court cases that challenge traditional notions of property.

But as his reputation has grown, the undercover artist increasingly finds himself in the ironic position of being at the center of ownership rights fights. Banksy's works usually appear overnight in places visible to the public -- often owned by private individuals -- and the owners want to keep the graffiti.

Art: Burning Money Like It's Going Out of Style

What would you do if you had money to burn? Chances are good that you would pay off bills, splurge on something special, and possibly save a bit. But if you are artist Micah Spear, you literally blowtorch stacks of cash to make a point ... and a dollar.

Spear's collection of destroyed works is called #SealedContents and most notably contains stacks of blasted currencies, which are vacuum sealed in plastic and displayed in frames in his apartment and on his website. The idea is to raise questions about money and value.

People of North Carolina: Did you ever worry that your local police and prosecutors weren't working hard enough to stop teenage flirting? Do you ever wish cops were aggressively patrolling for consensual acts of communication? Or maybe you're concerned that law enforcement wasn't swooping in fast enough to protect young people from no harm whatsoever.

Well, if that's the case, you can rest easy tonight. Because the hammer of justice is coming down hard on two North Carolina teenagers who consensually texted sexually explicit photographs of themselves to each other.

The first rule of Toddler Fight Club: Don't Snapchat Toddler Fight Club. The second rule of Toddler Fight Club: DO NOT SNAPCHAT TODDLER FIGHT CLUB.

Apparently two day care workers couldn't follow these simple rules, and now they face child abuse charges. The women were busted after sharing an organized kid fight video on social media, possibly as part of Project Mayhem.

A few days ago we wondered whether a county court clerk could defy a court order, and now we have our answer: Yes, as long as you don't mind going to jail for it.

Rowan County Court Clerk Kim Davis was held in contempt of court and jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis stopped issuing any marriage licenses after the Supreme Court decided same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.

The hottest trend in avoiding the IRS has people bailing on the United States altogether. From Facebook co-founders to Massachusetts socialites, thousands of Americans are renouncing their citizenship to lighten their tax burden.

And it turns out a law aimed at reducing the number of offshore accounts has also reduced the amount of American citizens.