Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Recently in Legislative Oddities Category

We're already 18 years into the 21st century, and we're still waiting on our personal jetpacks and flying cars. We don't even have a colony on Mars, and the city that helped put a man on the moon is now telling its residents they can't frequent robot sex brothels.

What a buzzkill.

Last week, the Houston City Council updated its rules on sexually oriented businesses, adding "anthropomorphic devices" to the list of banned "adult arcades," which are prohibited from operating within 1,500 feet of churches, schools, day cares, parks, and residential neighborhoods. The council prohibited customers of sexually oriented businesses from using so-called arcade devices on company premises.

Did We Really Need a Law Against Eating Cats and Dogs?

We all enjoy Republicans and Democrats reaching across the aisle for the common good. But for a law against eating cats and dogs? Is this all we have left to agree on?

After a year in the making, the House has passed a bipartisan bill, originated by Florida Reps. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Alcee Hastings, a Democrat. Alas, Florida's congressional leaders have nothing more pressing to resolve. The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018, which outlaws the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption, which is legal in 44 states. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's prolific. Do we really need this law?

"There is an atrocious story on social media that I intentionally hurt the seagull. It is illegal and immoral to injure a seagull. If I intentionally hurt the seagull in front of hundreds of witnesses, I would perhaps be the dumbest criminal ever."

Nate Rancloes may not be the dumbest criminal ever, but he did violate federal wildlife laws when he accidentally kicked a seagull that had stolen his cheeseburger. And it turns out New Hampshire Fish and Game officials are pretty strict when it comes to enforcing those laws.

Can Cannabis Be a Religious Sacrament? Judge Says No

The First Church of Cannabis in Indiana saw their lawsuit go up in smoke. The church, which claims that their congregation uses marijuana in a sacramental manner to grow closer in love to one another, sought to get a religious exemption to the state's marijuana laws under Indiana's Religious Freedom and Reformation Act (RFRA).

Though officially a recognized church by the state and the IRS, Judge Jude Sheryl Lynch of the Marion County Superior Court ruled that the church could not smoke marijuana as a religious sacrament.

Maybe you're a LARPer or a fan of Renaissance Fairs. Maybe you're an engineering or history student, studying the effectiveness of various siege weapons. Or maybe you've got a neighbor with high walls and a penchant for playing their music too loud.

Either way, if you're looking to launch a projectile a great distance (without the aid of explosives), you might be wondering if you can build your own catapult, trebuchet, or similar siege engine without interference from the fuzz. Here's what you need to know.

A magic tricks (or "illusion" if you prefer) ceases to be magic if the audience knows how it works. And the trick ceases to be valuable to the magician who invented it if other magicians can just steal it.

So what kind of legal protections do magicians have against the exposure or theft of tricks illusions? Not many.

Smoke While Walking Should Be Banned, Says NYC Council Member

At this point, everyone knows the dangers of smoking cigarettes. While some people choose to smoke knowing the risks, others are exposed to the risks -- and the smells -- without a choice. One Democrat in New York is trying to reduce non-smokers' exposure to cigarette smoke by asking the New York City Council to ban smoking while walking.

In the inimitable wisdom of Indiana lawmakers, 16 and 17 year olds can consent to have sex with adults, but they cannot receive texts with naked images of those adults. And in the inimitable wisdom of the Indiana Supreme Court, the absurdity of these conflicting laws can't save a teacher from a sexting conviction.

It's just the latest example of sexting legislation gone wrong.

Courts and the law have long held sympathy for a man who finds his wife or girlfriend cheating on him. There were once exceptions to murder statutes and lesser penalties for a man who discovered his wife "in flagrante delicto" and lashed out violently. While those laws have either been formally removed or are no frowned upon by courts, some states still allow a jilted husband to sue a home-wrecking party.

One such lawsuit was recently revived in North Carolina, where a man is suing a doctor for an affair with his nurse wife.

There is often the conception that once we own land, we can do whatever we want with it. Sadly for some landowners, there are regulations, restrictions, and responsibilities placed on land use, which can exist at the local, state, and federal level.

Most, if not all of these regulations come from two often competing interests: conservation and agriculture. Those interests, along with one man's desire to build a house, are colliding in Northern California, where a turkey farmer is suing over a county ordinance he claims will force him and his family to farm his land in perpetuity.