Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

April 2016 Archives

In a bizarre legal loophole, Oklahoma's criminal statutes don't prohibit forcible oral sodomy if the victim is too intoxicated to consent, even to the point of complete unconsciousness. So said a unanimous state appeals court, confirming a lower court's dismissal of criminal charges against one teen who had oral sex with another who said she has no memory of the incident and whose blood alcohol content afterwards was .34.

In a curt, two-page opinion, four judges on Oklahoma's Court of Criminal Appeals agreed that they "will not, in order to justify prosecution of a person for an offense, enlarge a statute beyond the fair meaning of its language." So what is the statute, and what, specifically, is its language?

In bad news for all of us with a malicious little 10-year-old inside us, it turns out you can't get unemployment benefits if you've been fired from your job for posting violent and sexually explicit videos featuring LEGO characters as stand-ins for your coworkers.

And courts are not gonna buy your excuse that you were using characters from movies and rap songs in your videos, and it was a mere coincidence that you used songs or movies with names similar to those of your coworkers.

How a Soda Theft Turned Into a Felony Robbery

Thirst can make you crazy, and it seems to have just done that to an 18-year-old in Springdale, Arizona. The young man, Cody Morris, is facing felony charges after an attempt to steal soda turned into a felony.

The crime was publicized on the local police's Facebook page and is making its way around the Internet, albeit with a deceptive headline that police find frustrating. It indicates that the young man was charged with a felony for stealing soda from the fountain. That is not what happened. Here is the story from the Springdale Police, who wanted to clear up a few key points.

Are you a fan of Manhattan's South Korean "massage parlors?" Did you perhaps call one, looking not for a message, but instead for a "girlfriend experience?" Were you silly enough to use your real phone to make that call?

Well, congratulations! Federal authorities now have your phone number, and possibly some identifying information, like hair color or whether or not you were a jerk when you visited. Do you not know what a burner phone is? How have you not seen "The Wire" yet? Geez.

Filing Taxes From Coachella's Post Office

Coachella is an annual music festival in the California desert that draws stars of all stripes -- from pop goddesses like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift to Victoria's Secret Angels. So you might imagine that people who attend are too cool to worry about taxes, or so rich that someone else has to manage all that wealth.

You'd be wrong. In fact, it turns out some of the festival's attendees tried to mail their taxes from a makeshift post office on the grounds. There were at least ten such attempts on the first day of Coachella, reports the San Jose Mercury News. The local post-master wants everyone to know that it's not happening. "No, I can't 'just take it,'" Megan Hampton said. "How do they have their taxes here? I don't know."

Lawsuit Aims to Free 'We Shall Overcome' Song From Copyright

The song 'We Shall Overcome' is accustomed to struggle -- it is the anthem of the American civil rights movement of the 1960s. But now a new lawsuit aims to free the work from copyright. Appropriately, this protest anthem is the subject of a class action claiming that it cannot be owned and belongs to all.

The defendants are The Richmond Organization and its label Ludlow Music, which copyrighted the song in 1960. Notably, the plaintiffs are represented by the same firm that won us all access to the 'Happy Birthday' song, Reuters reports.

Judge Dismisses Pastafarian Inmate's Religious Claims

A Nebraska judge dismissed an inmate suit claiming religious discrimination in prison for failure to accommodate his Pastafarian faith. But the judge did not dismiss the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, noting that the Pastafarian faith plays an important role as "a parody, intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education."

Still "that does not mean that the trappings of the satire used to make that argument are entitled to protection as a religion," wrote US District Court Judge John Gerrard. It's important, just not a religion within the meaning of federal statutes and constitutional jurisprudence.

A Texas woman was arrested by Odessa police and charged with theft from a human corpse after video from a funeral home showed her reaching into an open casket and removing something from a female corpse. That something turned out to be a ring, valued at just $10, and could land the woman in state jail for two years.

Beyond the lack of respect for the dead, and the general creepiness, this woman displayed an apparent lack of concern for the legal consequences of messing with a dead body. But as Texas' statute illustrates, you can get into a lot of trouble stealing from dead people.

Man Scales Rock Face, Proposes, Goes to Jail

Some people give a lot of thought to a marriage proposal, hoping to really wow the future spouse. Michael Banks certainly tried to do that when he scaled the side of a 581-foot rock in Fresno, California to propose. But it seems he should have given this proposal idea just a bit more consideration because he got in a lot of trouble for scaling the prohibited rock and more, according to the Huffington Post.

Did the woman say yes? Well, yes, though she may have quickly regretted it. There is more to this glorious tale of love.

Denise Gunderson had a pretty sweet racket going: show up to weddings (uninvited, of course), mingle, have a good time, and go home with stolen wallets, credit cards, and cash. Now, the woman who ruined so many honeymoons will be serving seven years of her own in a San Diego prison after pleading guilty to grand theft and identity theft.

Her crime spree may be over, but the newlyweds she robbed might never get their money back.

Parenting ain't easy. And sometimes you might just want to take the edge off during your evening walk with your child. But a relaxing beer or cocktail after work is a far cry from pushing your baby "down steps in a stroller and bumping into buildings and bushes."

The former might be socially acceptable. The latter will get you arrested.

CT Couple Arrested After Crab Leg Battle at Buffet

People can get pretty picky about their food, or rather, crabby. A couple in Connecticut was arrested this weekend after a dispute over crab legs at a buffet turned into a battle between patrons involving assault, disorderly conduct, threats, and pepper spray.

The couple is out on a bail bond now and will be back in court in mid-April, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, a young man who is unrelated to them had a split lip and lost a tooth when he was hit in the face during the dispute. His mother used pepper spray to stop the brawl, but Fox News reports that this was only after her son was hurt. She was not charged with a crime.