Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

July 2016 Archives

The urban legend has people waking up in bathtubs full of ice and discovering that their kidney has been removed, all because of a lucrative black market for internal organs. And that black market exists because most state and federal laws prohibit people from selling their organs, citing public policy concerns and the negative incentives that a body part market would create.

But it's your body -- surely you can lop a little of it off if you choose to, right? It turns out there are a few pieces of you that you can sell, so here's a quick legal guide to selling your body parts for fun and profit:

Did 'Antiques Roadshow' Bros, Keno Twins, Commit Auction Fraud?

If you watch Antiques Roadshow on public television, then you know its charming hosts, twin brothers Leslie and Leigh Keno. They are sophisticated and handsome fellows, 59, with fancy credentials and a passion for Americana. They love old items and they know better than most what is and is not junk, what things are worth. That is why their actions have been raising eyebrows lately.

The brothers have, until recently, enjoyed great reputations in the fine collectibles community. But the Kenos drew suspicion when they bid against each other at auctions, driving prices absurdly high, and fell behind on their bills. The New York Times reports that the twins are accused of auction fraud. The brothers say it's all a misunderstanding.

Pokemon Go Player Caught: Game Leads Wanted Man to Police

Positive things have been said about Pokemon Go, most notably how it bring reclusives who play video games out into the light of day. But it's unlikely anyone expected the upside of the game that the Milford, Michigan police experienced last week.

A wanted man presented himself to them in front of the station in his pajamas at night, seeking a nearby Pokemon, reports the Huffington Post. The player must be identifying with the characters in his game right now. He got caught by the cops while he was out trying to "catch 'em all."

Fugitive Sect Leader Lyle Jeffs Demands Feds Drop Welfare Fraud Charges

Some people answer to the law of the land and some answer only to their religion. This is essentially the legal argument of Lyle Jeffs, the interim leader of a polygamous sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church). He is charged with welfare fraud and is a wanted fugitive. Despite this, his lawyers are demanding that charges against him be dropped after Jeffs recently slipped out of his GPS monitor while on supervised release.

Lyle Jeffs, brother of Warren Jeffs who is in prison for his relations with underage girls, is arguing that members of his sect endanger their chances of salvation when they do not pool their welfare benefits. As such, he argues, he should not be charged with a $12 million food stamps benefit fraud scheme.

Sinister Side of Pokemon Go Shows Itself

Everyone knows about Pokemon Go by now. It's an augmented reality game that can be downloaded on a phone and played at home and in the world.

Players try to catch colorful cartoon characters by luring them or going out to hunt them down. The game has been received very enthusiastically by many and is being downloaded in record numbers. But like any cultural phenomenon, however positive it may seem, there are downsides. In the case of Pokemon Go, it's the potential for injury and for crime.

Flag burning is legal. The Supreme Court said so. Our right to burn the American flag, the Stars and Stripes, the Red, White and Blue, the very Star-Spangled Banner, is protected by the First Amendment. But some states still have anti-flag burning statutes on the books, and, regardless of what the High Court says on the matter, many, many people don't like it when you burn the flag.

Which leads us to the curious case of Bryton Mellott of Urbana, Illinois, who decided to torch Old Glory on Independence Day, take photos, and post those photos to Facebook. What happened next may not surprise you: people got angry and Mellott was arrested. But then he was released and all charges were dropped.

Florida Man Stole Turtle Eggs, Punishable by 5 Years in Prison

Stealing babies is the worst, especially if you steal them from a turtle as she is laying the eggs. Not only is it rude and probably bad karma, but it's a felony in Florida and police do arrest poachers.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a man was arrested over the Independence Day weekend for stealing 107 baby eggs from a female loggerhead turtle. The crime was spotted because police received earlier complaints of poaching on a beach behind a residence and set up surveillance.

In a classic case of he said / cops said, gay YouTube star and LGBT advocate Calum McSwiggan was charged with multiple crimes on a night he alleges he was assaulted outside a gay club in West Hollywood, California. Depending on whose version of events you believe, McSwiggan was either beaten by three men outside The Abbey or he vandalized a car, injured himself in a jail cell, and filed a false police report.

Here are both sides to a bizarre story:

In Missouri, if you're interested in supporting Eric Greitens's gubernatorial campaign. The Republican candidate and former Navy SEAL officer is selling "ISIS hunting permits" to raise money for his campaign.

So how many ISIS can you bag under this (fake) permit? And will the scolds down at the fish and game office really be out tracking this season?