Monthly Archives: July 2007
The Only Thing I Like Better than the Jumble is Finishing the Jumble
All right, let’s just get this out of the way first: No one dislikes Uwe Boll as much as me (well, except this guy); he’s easily one of the more incompetent directors in Hollywood, though he does seem to be the go-to guy for shitty video-game adaptations, like Alone in the Dark, House of the Dead, and the upcoming Postal. It’s the latter movie that’s the subject of this story. Postal, due out later this year, looks like an abomination — and an offensive one at that. If you want to feel your blood boil for a few seconds, just check out the trailer.
But, you gotta hand it him; Boll does have a pretty decent sense of humor. In fact, earlier this year, he challenged movie critics to step in the ring with him and fight in an actual boxing match (one guy took him up on it, and got his ass kicked) — but, now he’s created a parody website of the NY Post to advertise the movie. And, while it’s mostly pretty tasteless, there are some decent comedic jabs at the Post, which of course means that the humorless Post has brought suit. The Post is claiming “brazen and unlawful infringement of the New York Post’s valuable intellectual property” and that Boll set up the site to get back at the Post for some unfavorable things the paper has said about him.
It looks like parody to me. But, then again, Boll is running it on a few domain names that are similar to the Post’s hoping to snag a few who type in the wrong address. Really, I don’t care who wins. If we’re lucky, they’ll bankrupt each other out of business. BUT, I do have to say, the parody site’s NY Post advertisement is freaking priceless. Check it out:
Political Advertising that Works
Jesus H. As if those goddamn Ron Paul freaks weren’t obnoxious enough, now they have an actual reason to vote for the man besides his mild-mannered Patrick Buchnanan politics: Lesbians, of course. It’s not as cool as Mike Gravel’s video ads, but the only thing missing from Ron Paul’s lipstick lesbians is an appearance by Obama girl in a Domino’s Pizza outfit, which would probably send at least one of our readers into a frenzied soup of lust and policy talk.
And if your boss walks by while your watching this video, tell him it’s not porn: It’s political advertising, damnit. And then punch him in the nose.
The writing’s on the wall…
Kimberly Hunt, that skank, just made twenty grand. Wanna know how? She complained to “the man” that the perfectly harmless jokes scrawled on the wall of the men’s room were “offensive”. And the Australian Tribunal, those cocks, agreed, ruling that it was “sexual harassment.”
Waaa waaa, Hunt.
You wanna know what’s offensive? Not going to happy hour with me. What’s the harm? We have some drinks, eat some hot wings, and maybe make some bad decisions. Everyone’s a winner. But noooo, somebody leaves a copy of June’s issue of Ass Blasters on somebody’s desk and all of a sudden HR’s getting involved and it’s a big ol’ mess. Maybe they harassed my sexuality, did anyone every think of that? A guy’s got needs, people.
I’m just sayin’.
The Daily Memo - 7/31/07
I’m shocked — shocked, I say — that QuizLaw wasn’t cited in any court opinions last year! (Concurring Opinions)
More shock - “increasing number of Americans view Supreme Court as ‘too conservative.’” (Think Progress)
California’s Supremes have ruled that cities can’t seize cars from drivers busted for buying drugs or hookers, as only the state can authorize such a punishment (and there’s no such law on the Cali books … yet). (Nota Bene)
Apple’s facing its first class-action lawsuit over the iPhone, courtesy of a “typo-filled complaint” bitching about the iPhone’s battery life. (Overlawyered)
A NJ legislator says front-side license plates are as useful as an appendix, and would like to get rid of them. (Courier Post)
When you need a smoke, you need a smoke
So there was a car chase from last week which definitely had one of the most bizarre things you’ll ever see in a chase. A suspected bank robber led local cops on a chase through Phoenix. All of a sudden, the fugitive pulled his truck into a convenience store and ran inside to buy some cigarettes. The clerk said, “I gave him [the cigarettes] and he gave me $20 and he left.” The fugitive then hopped back in his truck and continued on his police chasing ways (presumably after entering Marlboro Country). As is almost always the case, he was eventually caught after the cops snared him with a spike strip. (You can see a video of some of the chase here.)
It’s too bad the cigarette companies can’t run TV commercials anymore, because this footage would make for an excellent Marlboro Light or P-Funk spot.
Michael Vick is in serious trouble
Forget his whole federal dog fighting thing. That’s the least of the Falcons QB’s worries, because he’s also being sued by a South Carolina prisoner for “63,000,000,000.00 billion dollars backed by gold and silver delivered via ‘UPS’ United States parcel service to the front gates of” his S.C. prison! The wonderful Jonathan Lee Riches (who seems to think his name is copyrighted) is suing Vick for a variety of alleged civil rights violations and torts:
… that include, but not limited to: injury to wildlife, conspiracy, illegal dog fighting, extortion, racketeering, gambling, copyright infringement, identity theft, fraud, threats to commit violent acts, brutality, tax fraud.
Rich’s fleshes out his allegations, kinda-sorta, in the hand-written complaint, and he claims that Vick stole two of his pit bulls for dog fighting purposes, only to sell them on eBay, using “the proceeds to purchase missles [sic] from the Iran government.” He also alleges that Vick stole his identity which was then used, among other things, to open a “doggie warehouse,” and that his copyright in his name has been violated by Vick using Rich’s name on his “personal football outfit and casual clothing.” There are also allegations of Vick being tied to al Qaeda and using illegal microwave testing on Rich.
This 3-page complaint is really a gem, and you should totally roll over to Above the Law right now and read it for yourself.
McDonald’s has been sued in China, and it’s not over food quality
Apparently it’s China Week here on QuizLaw, as I again find my attention drawn to a law-related story from over yonder (you’ll recall yesterday’s story about the biggest recorded bank heist in China’s history). This time, it’s the story of Shan, a Chinese lawyer who is suing Micky-D’s over its receipts. He went to two different Beijing McDonald’s recently and was unhappy to receive receipts that were primarily in English. So he’s sued the chain, arguing that this practice violates consumers’ right to know.
Now if this were taking place in America, you know that Shan would be asking for $1 bajillion, and licensing rights for the next 50 years. But the more practical Chinese lawyer simply wants an apology and a token payment of about thirteen cents. McDonald’s has declined to comment on the case but, earlier this month, it apparently updated its receipts to now be in Chinese. Which would seem to make sense, being that the restaurants are in China and all.
Has Anyone Ever Heard of Internet Hunting?
I’m not going to ridicule the Massachusetts legislature for passing what many probably assume is a ridiculous law, because until today, I’d ever even heard of this recreational activity. As far as I know, it’s all the rage with the interweb NRA geeks.
Anyway, the Massachusetts House passed a bill that would make the state the 34th to ban hunting via an internet connection. Apparently, folks can log onto their internet connection, dial up one of these services on their web browser, and then via web cam and a remote control rifle they can bag themselves a deer, wild pig, antelope, duck, etc. For an additional fee, you can even have the animal’s head sent to you. (And there is even an Internet Hunting Society!)
Apparently, these services exist for the wheelchair bound and others who are too disabled to go out into the woods themselves. Or, you know, the really fucking lazy. It’s insane — at least with live hunting, the animals sort of know who to run away from. But, damn — how would a deer know to steer clear of a remote control device? You know what would be awesome? Internet hunting of Internet hunters. That’s something I could get behind.
Crane. Denny Crane.
William Shatner has suddenly become the Christopher Walken of television. He’ll do anything for a few bucks. Like, $24.50 and a dinner at the Sizzler. Jesus, Shatner — Is this how you celebrated your Emmy nomination for “Boston Legal”? By making a real commercial for a real ambulance-chasing law firm? Dude — stop wasting your time on this shit. Go back and make another album, man.
(Hat Tip: Overlawyered)
The Daily Memo - 7/30/07
The head of the House’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection wants to get involved in the whole NBA mobbed-up-referee debacle. (SI)
Last week a federal court threw out ordinances passed by a hick Pennsylvania town which was trying to limit where illegal immigrants lived and worked. (CNN)
An advocacy group is suing Google over some North Carolina tax exemptions it negotiated with the state. (c|net news)
A Jersey man is suing Starbucks because the lid on his cup of hot tea allegedly detached, causing third-degrees burns when the tea splashed onto his hand. (SeatllePI)
What’s the matter with trying to get a continuance because you need to take care of your puppies? (Legal Antics)
Ever-so-slowly, the RIAA may be realizing that its lawsuits aren’t the best way to deal with piracy and the internet, and that maybe “licensing and offering great legal alternatives” might be the better play. (Downloadsquad)
Courts are working hard to boost their jury pools, now that “getting out of jury duty is a national pasttime.” (CNN)
Last week, a court ordered the Feds to pay over $100 million to four men who were framed by the FBI for a 1965 murder. (CNN)
But if he would’ve stopped, couldn’t he then have sued the police over his ensuing blue balls?
Last Friday, Nathan Blair appeared in court (via video) in a kilt to plead not guilty to charges of indecent exposure and public sex. Seems that in the wee hours of Thursday night/Friday morning, the 24-year-old Blair went out to a busy street wearing his black kilt, and started showing off his goods to passing motorists. He then went into his backyard and started going at it with a lady friend. The cops showed up at about 3:30 a.m. and ordered Blair and the lady to “cease and desist” their rumpus. And while the police lieutenant on the scene said folks usually stop their scrumping when ordered to by the police, the drunk Blair and his 20-year-old gal kept on keeping on. So they were arrested, of course.
This story reminds me of an old joke I believe I originally heard on “Dr. Demento” way back in the day:
So a Scotsman stumbles out of a local pub one evening and decides to pass out by a cozy looking tree. While he’s sleeping, two women happen by and notice the passed out man. “You know,” says one of the gals, “I’ve always wanted to see what those guys wear under their kilts.” So the two girls walk over and sneak a peak under the man’s kilt, where they find nothing but what God graced him with.
They decide to leave a gift as a thank you, and one of the girls takes a blue ribbon out of her hair, tying it around the sleeping man’s member. Later on, the Scot wakes up and wanders over to some shrubs to open his flood gates. After lifting his kilt he notices the nice little blue ribbon and, though he’s perplexed for a minute, he eventually figures it out: “Ah lad, I don’t know where you been, but I see you won first prize!”
America doesn’t hold the patent on brilliant criminals
No sir, stupid criminals can be found in every country on this diverse planet of ours. Take China, for instance, where Ren Xiaofeng and Ma Xiangjing, along with three others, are being tried with accusations that they stole 51 million yuan (almost $7 million) from the bank they worked at (making this the biggest bank robbery in China’s history). In and of itself, this would be nothing - just another example of bank employees thinking they could pull an inside job. But Ren and Ma’s ultimate plan was particularly special.
The two men were both vault managers at a branch of the Agricultural Bank of China. Ren got involved with two other men, and the three of them stole about 200,000 yuan. But Ren had a plan to avoid getting caught - he would use the stolen funds to play the lottery, and when he won, he could then return the stolen funds, splitting the rest of the winnings with his collaborators. So the robbery was more like a big loan, really.
And believe it or not, this actually worked – Ren won the lottery and managed to return the 200,000 yuan. But then he started collaborating with Ma and things got turned up a couple of notches - over a one month span, they stole almost 51 million yuan, spending 47 million of it on the lottery. They didn’t win anything back, and ultimately got busted before getting a chance to dump the rest of the stolen funds into the lottery.
When interviewed on the courthouse steps, Ma said that if he had the chance to do it all over again, he would totally spend the stolen yuan on hookers and blow instead of scratch tickets and the Powerball.
(And for those keeping count, the fifth guy on trial allegedly harbored Ma for a time while he was on the lam.)
Latest Vile Copyright Infringer: Dancing Baby
Check this cutish home video below: It’s an adorable 18-month-old toddler. And he’s dancing. What’s he dancing too? Well, if you listen really hard, you can sort of hear Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” playing on a very bad sound system in the background.
And, of course, that was enough to piss off Universal Music Publishing Group, which demanded the clip be removed from YouTube earlier last month, arguing that the background music infringed on its copyright. Universal notified Stephanie Lenz (the mother of the todder in the video) by bringing a DMCA claim.
Now, Lenz is actually suing Universal for damages (in cahoots with the Electronic Frontier Foundation), “alleging that the music in the clip was self-evident non-infringing fair use,” and claiming she was harmed “substantially and irreprably.”
Man alive — so much stink for a silly 29-second video. Seriously, the kid’s not even that cute.
… Nah, he totally is.
Not that any of you care, but Nicole Ritchie pleaded guilty to DUI charges today and was sentenced to a whopping four days in jail, which will give her a chance to work on her diet.
Meanwhile, the far more entertaining story today involves a dentist who thought it would be hilarious to stick some phony pig’s tusks in his assistant’s mouth while she was under anesthesia. He took the tusks out before his assistance woke up, but he took pictures, which eventually circulated around the office and were given to the assistant during her office birthday party. So, his assistant — who clearly has absolutely no sense of humor — quit her job and sued the dentist.
But here’s the cool part (at least for this story’s dentist hero): The dentist’s insurance company refused to cover the suit, saying that the joke was intentional and not part of normal business operations. So, the dentist — whose name is Robert Woo — settled out of court for $250,000, then he sued his insurance company and won $750,000!
The ruling was appealed, but eventually upheld by the Washington state supreme court. So, the end result of the dentist’s practical joke was a $500,000 windfall.
And, of course, that’s the way he designed it from the beginning.
Woo’s lawyer, Richard Kilpatrick, described the surgeon as a kindhearted, fun-loving man who was chagrined that an office prank turned out so badly. He was delighted with the high court’s decision, Kilpatrick said.
Yeah. No kidding.
The Daily Memo - 7/27/07
The singer of the country song “Ten Thousand Angels” is not, apparently, among those ten thousand, as she’s been arrested and charged with attacking her mother. (Tennessean)
A plaintiffs attorney is suing his opposing counsel for asking “inhumane” questions in a deposition - in a case involving a baby’s death, the attorney asked the father if he thought his wife had a role in the child’s death by roughly handling the baby. (The Legal Reader)
The DEA recently raided 10 Los Angeles marijuana clinics which have been legal under state law since 1996, but remain illegal under federal drug laws. (The Legal Reader)
ATL’s got more info on the latest hub-bub (or lack thereof) over Saira Rao’s Chambermaid book. (Above the Law)
Nothing celebrates your release from prison like chopping up your buddy’s corpse and tossing him into the river! (WCBS)
A Florida jury has awarded $6 million in a product liability lawsuit where a Ford van rolled over onto a dude. (Law.com)
A QuizLaw Update — Sex with Dead People Not Illegal in Wisconsin
Last September, we ran a story here on Quizlaw about a man who saw a picture of a woman in the newspaper and thought she was so hot, he had to … er … tap that immediately. The catch, of course, was that she was dead — not that Nicholas Grunke (pictured) was going to let that stop him. He and some friends went out to the gravesite and decided to dig her up and give her a good shag. The men managed to get down to the concrete encasing the coffin before police disrupted their plot.
And earlier this week, a Wisconsin appeals court dropped the charges against the Casanova and his cohorts, ruling that they cannot be charged with sexual assault because necrophilia is not against the law in the state. Lawmakers are outraged:
Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, introduced legislation Wednesday that would make having sex with a corpse a felony with punishment of up to 6 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The bill would levy the same penalties against anyone who intentionally disturbs a burial site or a buried human corpse.
Weird state, man — you’ll recall that a similar problem arose in Wisconsin last November, only it was a dead deer a man was having sex with. /and, of course, Wisconsin had a statute outlawing sex with live animals, but nothing specifically prohibiting sex with animal carcasses.
There’s nothing for me to say here
This story, from Yahoo! News is entitled “Once, twice, three times arrested,” and the article really covers everything about as succinctly as one can:
ONEIDA, N.Y. - A central New York man hit the criminal justice trifecta, three arrests in three hours. Kevin Rich, 40, was charged early Sunday morning with soliciting money from people and loitering.
A little more than an hour later he was charged with disorderly conduct for stepping in front of a vehicle, causing the driver, an off-duty police officer, to slam on his brakes.
Around 2:30 that same morning, police say Rich was arrested a third time after taking money from people after telling them he ran out of gas and needed to get to another town. Police say Rich has no car.
Rich was sent to the Madison County Jail and is due back in court later this week.
I wonder if, after the second arrest, the cops started betting on how long it would be before they saw Mr. Rich for a third time. And actually, I’m surprised they tossed him into the clink after the third time. If it were me, I’d keep letting him go to see how long he could carry this thing out for. I mean, they might’ve blown a potential Guinness record here! …Ingrates.
That’s some serious squadush!
Back in March, a drug bust went down in Mexico. Executed jointly by Mexican and U.S. authorities, the target was Shanghai-born Zhenli Ye Gon. The 44-year-old has been living in Mexico for some time, where he was allegedly supplying the country’s drug cartels with one of the chemicals needed to make meth. For example, the Feds allege that just between December 2005 and August of this year, his company illegally imported over 86 metric tons of restricted drugs and chemicals. In total, they allege he had imported enough chemicals to make over 36,000 kilos of meth, which would have a street value of over $700 million!
So his home was raided back in March, and the U.S. and Mexico agents managed to seize a big hunka change. To the tune $207 million, to be exact. The U.S. Feds said this was “the largest single drug cash seizure the world has ever seen.” While this raid happened back in March, the story is back in the news because Ye Gon, who’s been on the run since then, was finally caught on Monday.
But the real reason I’m posting this is just to share the flabbergasting photo of what $207 million, mostly made of $100 bills, looks like. It’s not quite enough for Scrooge McDuck to swim in, but it’s not far off:
The Daily Jerk
I mean, what the hell else are you going to do in prison besides read the Bible and masturbate (not at the same time, mind you — that’s blasphemy)? It’s jail, man. Eat. Sleep. Crap. Masturbate. But noooooo. First they take away cigarettes, and now prisons are taking away masturbating.
At least that’s the way it seems out in Florida, where a 20-year-old man, Terry Lee Alexander was convicted of indecent exposure and sentenced to 60 days in prison after a female guard spotted him pleasuring himself.
The fun part of the case, though, is that during voir dire, the prospective jurors were apparently questioned about their own masturbation habits. All admitted that they had masturbated at one time. Then, during the trial, Alexander’s lawyer asked the female guard:
“Did other inmates start masturbating because of Mr. Alexander? Did you call a SWAT team?”
“I wish I had,” the deputy replied.
Ha! Of course, the guard has nothing against spit-shining the old water pump. She simply “objected to Alexander performing it so blatantly. She told the court that most inmates masturbated in bed, under the blankets.”
Of course, Alexander is in prison for auto theft and gun charges. So, we know that the resources of the court system haven’t been completely wasted, though this trial was ridiculously unnecessary, especially since Alexander’s 60-day sentence will be served concurrently. But that’s the efficient miracle of the jury system.
Evolution Hasn’t Caught Up with Everyone
Usually, we find dryly written stories about stupid people that we have to punch up ourselves. But God bless Thomas Lake over on TampaBay.com, as he did all the work for us:
Humans survived the last several millennia through hunting and gathering, adaptation to habitat and generally heeding the self-preservation instinct. This instinct warned your ancestors to avoid many things, including black water and wounded rattlesnakes, and in recent years it has expanded to advise you against blinding your driver with pepper spray while your car rolls through public streets.
But this instinct bows to free will.
Especially with a nudge from alcohol.
Lake is referring to Janine Marie Kelly, who got in a fight with her boyfriend while he was driving with her two young children were in the car. Apparently, she got so enraged during the argument that she pulled out a canister of pepper spray and doused him.
Good idea, Captain Genius.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.
The Daily Memo - 7/26/07
Supreme Justice Stevens says that the Supremes’ high reversal rate of Ninth Circuit decisions is “misleading.” (Law.com)
The New York woman whose husband-to-be was shot over 50 times by the cops on the day of their wedding has filed a civil lawsuit against the NYPD. (CNN)
Yikes - a judge had a heart attack and died, while sitting on the bench, in the middle of presiding over a case. (Rocky Mountain News)
Getting banned from Bill O’Reilly’s website for exposing hate speech? Naaaah … can’t be. (Daily Kos)
Looks like there’s gonna be a delay in the Boston judge’s decision about whether or not to throw out the Facebook lawsuit. (BloggingStocks)
How can the Roberts Court be reined in? (Slate)
What’s the big deal about having a little prostitution on your record?
Down in Orange County (“the O.C.” to you young hipsters), Brittany Ossenfort was arrested for prostitution. Only, it wasn’t actually Ossenfort that was arrested. Rather, it was Richard Phillips, a transgendered man who used to live with the real Ossenfort. Ossenfort said that she lived with Phillips for a year, thinking Phillips was actually a chick the whole time (she knew him as Michelle). Apparently Michelle/Richard started going all Single White Female on Ossenfort, trying to look and dress like her, and even getting a similar tattoo on her hand. Michelle/Richard eventually moved out and Ossenfort only later learned that he was actually a dude, something which she obviously found shocking.
Anyway, when Michelle/Richard was arrested for prostitution, he gave Ossenfort’s name and birthdate as his own. And this is where the story goes from “bizarre” to “you gotta’ love our criminal system.” A spokesperson for the jail said that the booking record cannot be changed – that is, because “Brittany Ossenfort” was the name Phillips gave and which he was booked under, that name stays on the books. Which means that the real Ossenfort has to deal with the fact that background searches are going to turn up a prostitution charge:
Brittany Ossenfort was told she may have to carry papers around with her for years documenting her identity, to prove she wasn’t the one arrested for prostitution.
I’m not the only one who thinks this is utterly ridiculous, right? I mean, why can’t there be something in place within the system that allows for re-booking under someone’s proper identity once it’s determined that they were booked under an alias or stolen identity? Madness.
Also, for the curious, here’s a photo of Ossenfort and Phillips, and there’s definitely a passing resemblance:
(The real Ossenfort is, I hope you can tell, the gal on the left.)
You might have a drinking problem if…
Shelby County, Tennessee is quite safe under the careful watch of Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Clark. Well, if you consider an alcoholic drunk-driver with guns to be the sort of guy you want watching over your safety.
Last week, someone called for an ambulance when they saw Clark passed out in the driver’s seat of his pickup truck - seems he fell asleep while waiting for the red light to change. Hey - it happens to the best of us. He was hauled off and charged with a DUI after blowing a .09% blood alcohol level. He’s now been suspended with pay, and I’m guessing he’ll back on the job in the not-too-distant future.
And the reason I’m guessing this is because he wasn’t fired after a March incident that was almost as bad. He only got a 10 day suspension after strolling into a T.J. Mulligans while wearing his weapon, and then getting so drunk at the bar that he passed out cold (the recipe for this inebriation was apparently two beers, three shots of Jager and a martini). I mean, if passing out drunk at a bar while wearing your gun doesn’t get you fired, what’s a little DUI, right?
Well this story didn’t play out the way it would in the movies
Back in 2004, Willie Joe McAdams was sentenced to 40 years in the clink for shooting a Houston man, Cedric Thomas, in the head. Thomas wasn’t killed, thankfully, although he did wind up loosing his vision in one eye. Earlier this month, things took a potential bad turn when McAdams was accidentally released from prison just a tad too early. You know, like 36 years too early.
Seems there was some type of “clerical error” or “human error,” as the Texas Department of Corrections is spinning it, stemming from some information wrongly typed into the system back when McAdams started his prison-stint in ‘04 (someone typed a “4” instead of a “40”). Anyway, McAdams ended up going into a bar on the weekend of July 4th and finding Cedric Thomas, his former victim.
This is where the film version would’ve had thing get very ugly.
In reality, McAdams simply walked up to Thomas and apologized for shooting him, shaking Thomas’ hand.
McAdams has since been picked up and returned to the clink, where he still has 16 more years until he’s eligible for parole. That he didn’t turn himself in, knowing he was wrongfully out, will surely play against his parole chances. But on the other hand, the handshake/apology will surely play in his favor. Of course, he’ll have to wait 16 years to see which way the scale ultimately tips.
The Sun Don’t Shine in Florida
A few weeks ago, Seth told you about a husband/wife who were placed on the sex offender registry because the cops caught the wife going down on her husband in the carpool lane. Well, absurdity of the sex offender registry continues.
On Monday, a family driving a Mercedes Benz allegedly cut off the driver of a Chevy Tahoe, John Taylor Thomas. So, Thomas did what quite a few 21-year-old guys in his situation might do: He pulled down his pants and mooned the family. Well, it turns out there was a 14-year-old in the car. And in Florida, that means that Thomas can be charged with a “lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a child younger than 16.” And you know what that means, right?
Yep. If Thomas is convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison and will have his name put on the sex offender registry forever. For mooning.
The irony here is that, at least in Maryland, mooning is a perfectly legal activity, protected by the First Amendment.
[Updating the story Dustin mentioned, the driving BJ couple appealed their case and the judge rightfully agreed that they did not have to go onto the registry. So no harm, no foul … well, as long as you ignore the fact that between attorneys fees and court costs, the lady and her hubby spent over $10,000. —SF]
It Looks Like Hillary Has a New Campaign Slogan
And I think that Meatloaf has joined the campaign.
Nerrrrrrrrddssss…..Ahhhh! It burns! It burns!
Need those pesky weeds gotten rid of? Still have those sacks of mulch lying around but don’t want to pay someone to come pick em up? Simple. Just go into a chat room and call someone a nerd. You should have someone at your backdoor within a week with a can of kerosene, a shotgun, and a camera phone to capture the moment.
At least, that’s what happened to John Anderson, a 59-year-old Elm Mott resident. After getting into a chat room sparring match with Russell Tavares, a 25 year old Naval officer who I like to call “Sparky.” Tavares took a leave of absence from duty, drove 1,300 miles to Anderson’s home and used a homemade accelerant to set fire to a propane tank on Anderson’s property … all because Anderson altered a photo of Tavares to depict Tavares under a Revenge of the Nerds banner.
Whatever happened to challenging the jocks and preps to a pie eating contest? Or maybe a javelin throwing competition with a javelin designed specifically to respond to the limp-wristed movement of your token black frat brother? Ah, the good old days.
The Daily Memo - 7/25/07
If you try to break up with your boyfriend by setting him on fire, you might just find yourself in the clink. (KSDK)
Shocking! Minneapolis police might be issuing tickets and cracking down on driving violations because the city needs more money. (WCCO)
Fatty-fatty Charlie Weis lost his medical malpractice suit against the doctors who performed his gastric bypass. (SI)
An engaged Cincinnati homeless couple has been arrested for having sex on a busy street’s median during rush hour. (WCSH)
Two folks in Virginia, who have since been charged with public drunkenness, tried to escape from the cops on horseback. (ABC News)
The Patent and Trademark Office has been sued by some lawyers who don’t think the new Deputy Director has the proper qualifications. (The Trademark Blog)
So this means Cheney was a Slytherin?
A big fat hat tip to Marty Schwimmer over at The Trademark Blog, for the following succinct entry, titled Harry Potter and the Product Placement:
You have to wonder how much Scholastic Books had to pay to get the White House to make Voldemort president for a few hours on Saturday.
You know, there is a rather striking bit of similarity between the two:
Turns out Summer Associates Don’t Always Walk on Water
So over at Above the Law, David Lat’s been talking about the fact that it’s actually possible to get fired from a summer associate gig. The story that he’s speaking of involves a Chicago summer associate and as Lat states it:
His employment was terminated because (a) he allegedly engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with female summer associates, variously described as “repeatedly smack[ing] the asses of female summers” or “playing grab ass with female summers,” and (b) he allegedly made racially insensitive jokes, in front of multiple attorneys.Lat then provides a proposed update to the rules of etiquette summer associates should follow including, primarily, no ass slapping.
Now I won’t name names of the firm or the people involved, but I know of another summer associate who was fired mid-summer, several years back, from an office that has a reputation for being very laid-back when it comes to the behavior of its associates and summer associates. Long story short, Mr. Summer Associate had been having a not-too-secret fling with Ms. Summer Associate. It doesn’t sound like he would’ve been fired or reprimanded for this at all. However, his decision to bitch-slap the hell out of Ms. Summer Associate at a firm event? Well that probably isn’t going to go over so well. And indeed, it did not – while the Slap Heard ‘Round the Office apparently took place with no witnesses, after-the-fact witnesses said there was a very pronounced palm-print on Ms. Summer Associate’s face. Unsurprisingly, this led to Mr. Summer Associate quickly being dismissed from the summer event and, apparently, never to be seen from again.
So those etiquette rules might need an additional “don’t bitch slap another firm employee” added to the mix. Seems like common sense, but I guess common sense things sometimes need to be spelled out for some folks.
Turn ons include walks on the beach, red wine, and finding people guilty of murder
Don’t ever say that we here at QuizLaw don’t appreciate a good romance. Take, for example, the tale of Tracy Nagy and Jonathan Cinkay. Last year, both received lovely little jury summons and they found themselves sitting on the same jury - Cinkay was Juror Number 6. while Nagy was Alternate Juror Number 3. The two had never met before, but according to the Daily News, they “made goo-goo eyes on the first day of trial.” After some prompting from other jury members, the two enjoyed a lovely lunch together, and things just blossomed from there. Said Nagy about serving on a juror with her beau: “It was a very good way to get to know someone.”
By the end of last year, the couple was engaged, and next month they’ll be married by Justice Daniel Lewis who was the judge presiding over the original murder trial. Lewis said he didn’t realize there was matchmaking going on during the trial, although he did think the jury seemed a bit more happy and “beaming” than most of the serious and somber juries he’s used to.
Of course, the real question is - will they invite the convicted murderer to the wedding? After all, they never would’ve met if it hadn’t been for him, right?
My Advice: Keep It in Your Pants, Mister
You see this guy to the left? I bet you look at him and think, “Damn, I’d like to know what his penis looks like.” Right? Right? Because I bet it’s HUGE. Right? I mean, he just looks like the kind of guy that’d have a 14-incher, right? I bet it could double as a nunchuck, and he could whip the hell out of half a dozen folks with it. I bet he could choke a hippopotamus with it, eh? And this guy is not only gay, but Italian — and you know what that means, right? Big Johnson.
Of course, you and me aren’t the only ones who wanted to take a gander at his garden snake. Apparently, this man — former Mitsubishi executive James Bonomo — took a trip to Beijing and while there, he had dinner with his Tokyo-based superior, Tetsuya Furuichi. And Furuichi was dying to see his dong. Furuichi took Bonomo out to liquor-fueled karaoke session and, once Bonomo got good and shitfaced, Furuichi began badgering him to show his penis. According to The NY Post:
Later that same night, Furuichi allegedly pressured Bonomo into visiting a bathhouse for what he said would be “a non-sexual massage” with the clients. En route, Bonomo’s boss regaled him with an analysis of his admiration for the purported genital size of Italian-Americans, he said.
Despite Bonomo’s discomfort, Furuichi continued on in that vein, allegedly saying, “Italian men have penises ‘down to here,’ gesturing to his knees.” The suit noted that Bonomo is both Italian-American and gay.
At the bathhouse, a colleague from Mitsubishi’s Beijing office, Yue Zhibo, took a picture of Bonomo’s penis on his cellphone and then “refused to delete the picture” when Bonomo demanded he do so, the suit states.
Bonomo was subsequently fired, and now he has brought suit against Mitsubishi International Corp, alleging that the picture incident effectively ended his career.
BREAKING: Here It Goes, Here It Goes Again
This is basically just a head’s up here at QuizLaw, to let you know that you won’t be hearing much about the CNN YouTube debate last night, nor the latest in the Gonzales saga, the Iran/US talks, or even the latest study to suggest that diet soda is linked to heart attacks.
That’s because a bigger story has just taken over the top fold of your local newspaper, the first segment of the national newscast, and the next 125 headlines on your RSS feeders: Lindsay Lohan was arrested for DUI, driving on a suspended license and possession of cocaine at about 2:15 a.m. this morning. She’d just left a six-week stint in rehab.
Here’s my advice to you: Don’t turn on live television for the next few days. Catch up on your TiVO backlog and start watching all of those awful Telemundo programs it suggests for you; let the newspapers pile up on your front porch; and disconnect your broadband connection, at least until Friday. Because for the next two to three days, it’s gonna be wall-to-wall coverage people. Wall-to-wall.
Zen, people. Zen. Deep breaths.
The Daily Memo - 7/24/07
Want an “executive summary” of the stylistic changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure? You know you do. (Dorf on Law)
A New York court has granted an injunction temporarily banning the enforcement of the New York lawyer advertising rules. (Sui Generis)
A judge lent a shirt and tie to Vinny Gorgeous, an accused mob boss, to wear during his murder trial. ()
Do medieval weapons have any place in the courtroom? (Legal Antics)
A British court has ruled that a teenage girl was not discriminated against when her school banned her from wearing a chastity/purity ring because it’s not “intimately linked” to the Christian faith or the belief in no premarital scrumping. (BBC News)
Should a man have to continue paying alimony when his wife enters into a formal domestic partnership with her lesbian partner? (LA Times)
“S” is for “Suck it, Bush”
Bush recently submitted a plan which would kill the $420 million slated to subsidize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As the good folks at TV Squad succinctly explain:
The CPB was created by Congress back in 1967 to shield public broadcasting from political influence. The funds they receive are distributed between PBS and local public television stations as well as National Public Radio and its affiliates.
In a rare showing of testicular fortitude, the House rejected this plan with a strong 357-72 vote, meaning “Sesame Street” and “All Things Considered” and all their public-airwaves brethren can remain. Good on you, House.
Who knew that Hermione would turn out to be a dude?
Yeah, that’s right - I just spoiled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for you. Turns out Hermione was holding a pair of aces under that robe.
The connection with our site, however, is because of an interesting trademark dispute over “Muggles.” As Potter fans know, “muggle” is the term used to refer to normal folk who can’t do magic. “Cafe Muggles,” meanwhile, is what Jim Salzer wanted to call a restaurant/nightclub he was planning to open way back in 1979. While that project of his failed, he just loved the term “muggles,” and so he kept his grimy mitts on the trademark registration he’s held since ‘79. This doesn’t sit well with Warner Brothers, obviously, who owns the Potter movie and merchandising rights, so they offered Salzer $1 million for his trademark rights. Salzer tossed a Cruciatus curse Warner’s way and told them to get bent.
While there has been another lawsuit over various Potter terms, including “muggles” (a case which ultimately went Rowling’s way), Salzer hasn’t thrown his hat into the litigation ring just yet. For now, anyway, he says:
I’ve never contested the use of the name. I never said you couldn’t use it in a book, or in the movies. That’s not an issue with me.
But he says it might just become a nasty issue if Warner Brothers starts marketing and advertising with the term. And so he and his lawyers are carefully watching what happens with the planned Potter amusement park scheduled to open in 2009, and it’s safe to say that he may well soon be tossing his sorting hat into the ring.
But here’s my question - trademarks are only valid when one continues to use them in commerce. If he hasn’t been using “muggles” since his failed 1979 restaurant endeavor, I’m not sure what claim he still has to the term. He has apparently created a cat character called “Muggles” which he’s used in advertising other products over the years. But his registration only lists “retail gift and novelty store services” and “restaurant and night club services” for the mark’s relevant goods and services, so he doesn’t have a broad range of protectable rights, to the extent he even has rights at this point – I guess it’ll come down to how much he’s actually used Muggles the Cat and in connection with what type of products.
(Hat tip to Likelihood of Confusion.)
It’s not all shanking and dropped soap when you break the law
Sure, breaking the law has a bad rap — you get caught, there are some messy court room proceedings, and you eventually end up in the clink. But if you happen to wind up the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines, at least you can get your choreographed “Thriller” on:
(Hat tip to reader Three Elle.)
They also like getting their Queen on, too:
There’s no accounting for taste
Last week, someone broke into the baseball stadium used by the New Orleans Zephyrs and stole a Coors Light truck, making off with 51 kegs of the silver bullet! They also snagged about ten grand worth of groundskeeping equipment, but they didn’t try to break into any of the offices to find some truly good steal-worthy stuff. And because they opted for the beer truck over the offices, the Zephyrs’ GM thinks the thieves must be a bunch of idiots: “You would think somebody who was going to break into a place like this would try to be subtle. … We couldn’t believe somebody was leaving the stadium driving a beer truck. I don’t know where they thought they were going to go with it.”
Not far, as it turned out.
Sheriff’s deputies recovered most of the stolen property that afternoon and the next evening within two miles of the stadium, according to Sheriff’s Office reports. The beer truck was intact, parked near an abandoned house with the keys in the ignition.
All isn’t lost for the thieving idiots, however, because: (a) the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have any named suspects yet; and (b) there were only 38 kegs on the truck, meaning they got away with thirteen kegs of Coors.
Of course, I’m not sure whether having thirteen kegs of Coors Lite should exactly be considered a good thing.
Politician Stands Ground — Refuses to Kiss Criminal’s “Black Ass”
People often complain that their elected representatives, once they take office, often forget about their citizenry. That they’re too busy accepting bribes, kickbacks, or free trips from lobbyists to really listen to the concerns of the people who elected the representative.
Not true in Cleveland’s 11th Ward, where Councilman Michael D. Polensek actually takes time out of his busy day, on occasion, to send letters of a personal nature out to his constituents. Just this last week, an 18-year-old man, Arsenio Winston, got in a spot of legal trouble selling drugs in front of a convenience store, and Polensek took a few minutes to compose what I thought was a very thoughtful letter to Winston. In it, he wrote:
Mr. Winston, you have to be “dumber than mud.” Don’t you know that one of your so-called friends from the ‘8th- Avenue” gang ratted your stupid “ass” out that you were dealing drugs from the parking lot? They cut a deal. So much for your wonderful pals, you idiot. I am so glad that you are now 18 years of age, because now you are an adult and can no longer hide behind the juvenile court system, Mr. Quarterback, loser. Remember when you told me to “kiss your black ass” at R.J. Taylor Playground and that you were going to be an NFL Quarterback? Well, the NFL, despite perceptions, is “not for losers!” …
You are a “thug” and you know what? There are only two places you will end up at the rate you are going — that is, prison or the nearest funeral home. Quite frankly, I don’t care which one you get to first as long as your dumb stupid ass is out of my neighborhood.
For reasons that I don’t quite understand, Winston’s mother, Tonya Lewis, is actually considering legal action. She claims that the letter constituted a death threat, and that calling her son “dumber than mud” was a racist statement because “mud is black and dirty.”
No appreciation whatsoever. Ingrates.
Luckily, all inter-office emails refer to me as “Greek God”
Who’s got two thumbs and a complete inability to effectively multitask? Aileen Siu, that’s who! I’ve never had the misfortune of sending that one interoffice email that can bring your world crashing down around you because of a horribly misplaced typo, risqué verbiage … or calling Evon Reid, the young, black applicant for a political analyst position, “that ghetto dude.” *Smacks palm onto forehead*.
The one thing that might save the McGuinty government from the inevitable shit storm of lawsuits is the fact that Siu was not an employee of the office, but a public service worker. Whatever that means. Reid even received a personal message from Giles Gershon, deputy minister of communications, asking if he could apologize in person.
The only time I got an apology in person was when I got a Filet O’ Fish combo instead of the McFried Something combo.
Coyote Ugl … Oops. Are You Okay?
Amy Mueller, an Illinois resident, is suing her local bar and tavern after the bar had the goddamn audacity — the nerve — to “allow” the woman to climb up onto the bar and dance. Apparently, it is custom at Samy’s Bar and Grill for patrons to occasionally get a little sloshed and climb aboard the bar and shake their tooshies.
Mueller, no doubt shitfaced-retarded, stepped up onto the bar with the restaurant’s permission, and had a little oopsie, falling down and hurting her wittle ankle. Now, she’s suing the bar for $50,000, claiming that the bar had a responsibility to provide a step-stool or ladder to drunken patrons who want to climb aboard after one too many appletinis and shake their sweater monkeys.
Her attorney, who foams involuntarily whenever he hears a siren, insists he’s not an ambulance chaser. “I wouldn’t take a case I believe is frivolous. She completely shattered her right ankle. This isn’t, ‘I fell and bruised my back.’”
That’s right — because if she’d fallen and bruised her back, he never would’ve taken the case, because the going rate for bruised backs is only $5,000.
The Daily Memo - 7/23/07
The Senate Commerce Committee has passed a stupid bill overturning a NY court and re-allowing the FCC to fine broadcasters for accidental expletives. (Press Esc)
Big Papi’s being sued for $1 million over his alleged failure to autograph enough items at memorabilia “meet-and-greet” events. (SI)
Did you know there’s now a lawsuit going on over Terminator 4 and it’s not an action filed by fans of the first two flicks trying to stop the travesty that would surely be Terminator 4? (Cinematical
Sounds about right - the wacko fertility clinic nurse who killed her husband and stuffed his body into a suitcase has been sentenced to life in prison. (NJ.com)
Kang and Kodos love Blawg Review #118. (Blawgletter)
A new survey suggests that no-fault laws might actually increase the divorce rate by 10 percent. (Overlawyered)
“California gives sex offenders 45 days to comply with Jessica’s Law and move away from schools and parks.” (Nota Bene)
The House Committee on the Judiciary has approved the Patent Reform Act of 2007, and one of its sponsors is hoping to get it to the floor for a vote before the August recess (good luck with that buddy). (ars technica)
Your beverage is like bad medicine
Jon Bon Jovi might be getting ready to ride his steel horse to court, as he’s sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mijovi. Who or what is Mijovi, you ask?
Apparently, Mijovi is a company which makes a beverage of the same name which is sold at least in New Jersey. And old Jon Bon seems to think that this company/beverage name is just a touch too close to his own name for comfort.
The founder of Mijovi says the name doesn’t come from Jon Bon’s name, but is an ode to his girlfriend, whose name is Jovita. But as the WSJ Law Blog points out, “one of the product’s marketing slogans is ‘itsmilife,’” which sure seems close to the title of Bon Jovi’s track “It’s My Life.” After this was also pointed out in the cease-and-desist letter, the Mijovi founder stopped using the slogan, although he doesn’t plan to change the name, because he thinks Jon Bon is being unfair and unreasonable. If he thinks that Jon Bon is going to back down, however, I think that he’s … wait for it … wait for it … livin’ on a prayer!
Thanks - you’ve been great!
The latest fad in prisoner attempts to bust out of jail
There were these four prisoners in the El Reno federal prison who concocted a hilarious scheme to try to get out of prison. Allegedly, these four prisoners filed for copyright protection of their names (which you can’t copyright anyways). Then they sent demand notices to the warden, seeking millions of dollars as damages for the prison’s “wrongful” use of their copyrighted names on prison registries.
When no money came their way, they filed a lien on his property! And they also hired a guy to have the warden’s cars seized, to freeze his bank accounts and to change the locks on his house (a case of “we ain’t getting out, you ain’t getting in”). Once this was taken care of, they told the warden that he’d only get all his property back if they were released from prison.
But - ooopsies - the guy they hired never actually did what he was supposed to because, wouldn’t you know it, the dude just so happened to be an undercover Fed. So the warden’s stuff was never actually seized and the prisoners don’t get a “get out of jail free card.” Instead, they face various new criminal charges, which could add more years in the clink and some hefty fines. Well played, sirs.
Some things you just can’t make up
A guy named Leonard was arrested last Tuesday afternoon for public indecency at a local Cincinnati park. Apparently, he also tried to cop a feel off an undercover cop. That’s sorta a no-no, Leonard. The following Wednesday, he pled guilty to the public indecency charge, getting himself 6 months probation and a ban from all parks in the county.
Now here’s the one-two punch you can’t make up. One - the dude is 90-years-old! Two - the guy who’s accused with showing his winky in public? His last name is Dickman.
…And third-graders everywhere are giggling just a little bit.
So wait - you’re saying I can’t rest my laptop on my dog’s back when I’m trying to get work done?
A bill has been introduced in the Wisconsin legislature that provides details of how, exactly, a couple getting divorced should handle a custody battle. But not a custody battle over their kids - naaah, that’d be silly. We’re talking about pet custody here, people:
The bill would let couples specify, among other things, visitation rights and the right to move the animal out of state. If the feuding couple can’t agree on what to do with the pet, the solution is simple: A judge can either pick a spouse — or ship it off to a local humane society or shelter.
Whoever gets there first owns the dog, cat or even goldfish. If they wait too long, someone else could adopt their beloved animal or, depending on the shelter’s policies, it could be euthanized.
Wait, what? So if the couple can’t settle the matter on their own, and the judge doesn’t want to take sides, the poor animal gets shipped off to a shelter where its odds are, sadly, against it finding a new home?
A Republican state senator says that this is intended to remedy the fact that courts typically treat pets like property, ignoring the fact that there are emotional ties to the pets because, after all, “a dog is not a desk.” Fine, that’s all well and good. But how is sending a pet off to possibly be euthanized better than treating pets like property? In fact, as the article goes on to explain:
States traditionally consider animals to be property, so whichever spouse can establish ownership is granted custody. If ownership cannot be established, judges often try to figure out which person is the better caretaker and give the animal to him or her.
So basically, the only thing this bill really adds is that if the fight gets to the judge, there’s a new option of shipping the pet off to a shelter. I love lawmakers.
The Best Little 10-Year-Old Boy Ever
Semaj Booker lives with his mom in a suburb of Tacoma, Washington. And according to his moms, he doesn’t like the suburbs so much and would rather live with his grandfather down in Dallas. So last January, the then-9-year-old Booker decided to take matters into his own hands by steeling a neighbor’s car. The cops spotted him at some point and went after him, which then turned the whole thing into a highway high-speed chase. With a nine-year-old suspect leading the way, need I remind you. They only caught Booker when the stolen car’s engine blew, causing the car to crash.
But that’s nothing. Booker was released to his mother and the next day he snuck off to the local airport and managed to lie his way to San Antonio! The crafty kid told ticketing agents that he was 12 and that his mom was waiting for him in the boarding area - he then managed to get onto a plane from Tacoma to Phoenix and, in Phoenix, he was able to change onto another plane to San Antonio. Unfortunately, it was “so close yet so far” for young Booker, as he was busted in San Antonio and shipped back to his mom’s custody in Washington. Which makes sense, ‘cause she’s obviously doing a bang up job with him.
Child’s Play 5: The Conviction
You can breath easy folks, the 12 month reign of terror brought about by 12 year old Oliver Clinch has been brought to an end. No longer will you have to fear for the safety of your lawn gnomes, hide your prized Azalias, or keep your booze locked away. PC Graham Westwell can also now continue his career of cracking down on loiterers, and making sure that his crumpets don’t get soggy.
Clinch’s list of crimes include:
[Targeting] an Asian shopkeeper and his family with racial abuse at least a dozen times. Graffiti featuring Clinch’s name was daubed on the outside of the shop and the windows were smashed three times.
Clinch would also verbally abuse and spit at members of the public, subjecting them to a torrent of foul language.
On several occasions, he targeted women for abuse and made sexual remarks to a teacher after being expelled from school.
He also reversed his aunt’s car into the road and attacked her after she refused to drive him to a friend’s house.
Recently, he stole lead from the roof of the school, tried to smash a bus station window and stole a case of lager from an off-licence.
Now, with a ban on his troublesome activities in place, Clinch is suuuuure to be on the straight and narrow. Something else that just might work? A swift kick in the ass, people! A YEAR of lettin’ this kid get away with this crap??? Where I come from, five minutes after my first window breaking my ass would have been the color of a Netflix envelope.
The Daily Memo - 7/20/07
A state court ruled that the San Francisco 49ers are entitled to pat down fans entering Monster Park, even though the Niners suck and the team should be thankful that it even has fans. (ESPN)
By Supreme standards, Scalia’s a chatty Cathy. (Slate)
“Who is the ‘dean’ of the Supreme Court press corps?” (Above the Law)
The Oregon Supremes have ordered the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to release financial information about its net worth, info that it’s tried to keep under wraps. (The Salt Lake Tribune)
A Spanish judge has taken away a father’s visitation rights after the wonderful father took his 10-year-old son to run with the bulls in Pamplona. (Reuters)
$57,000 worth of pot was confiscated from a FedEx Package after fabric softener didn’t prevent the drug sniffing dog from doing his job. (The Sun Herald)
Man alive, I sure don’t miss the summer days spent studying for the bar exam. (Above the Law)
NBC is gonna get sued for $100 million by the sister of a dude who got busted on “To Catch a Predator” and ended up killing himself. (Huffington Post)
All he’s missing is a shark with lasers…
Gajillionaire Henry T. Nicholas III is my new hero. Not only does he live in my neck of the woods (Orange County, CA) but the guy had a network of secret rooms and tunnels built into his Laguna Hills equestrian estate for the express purpose of indulging his alleged appetite for prostitutes and the drug Ecstacy.
But, the next time you decide to have someone build you a hidden debauchery lair … pay the people that built it. Oh, and have your assistant sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Nicholas allegedly used “manipulation, lies, intimidation and even death threats” to pressure “nearly every contractor and vendor” to do extra work without pay “at warp speed,” the Times said in citing court filings.
Kenji Kato, Nicholas’ previous assistant, filed suit last year for unpaid wages totaling $150,000 and echoed some of same things as the construction company that sued Nicholas: “Filings in the suit allege drug use and debauchery at a Newport Coast home owned by Nicholas, who denies the accusations.”
If you’ll excuse me folks, I have to go see a guy about a thing in a place. If you need me, I’ll be in Laguna Hills.
“Wade told me for $50, he’d kill a dog.”
We posted this video a year ago, and we’re following up with our second annual Wade Blasingame Remembrance (and for the record, the true brilliance of Will Ferrell’s performance here is how he makes his eyes totally dead):
Where’s my two dollars?!
This is ridiculous.
Kermit and Dolores Atwood have owned their Louisiana home, mortgage-free, since 1968. For a long time, their property was exempt from property tax. This changed at some point and in 1996, they owed a whopping $1.63 in property tax. A bill was sent out, naturally, but it went to a bad address and was returned to the sheriff’s office as undelivered. So in 1997, the house was sold in a tax sale to cover “the $1.63 in unpaid taxes, plus 10 cents interest and $125 in sale costs.” They lost their house over less-than-two dollars!
But it gets better. The Atwoods didn’t learn about this tax sale until 2000, about a week after the deadline when a taxpayer can reclaim sold property. The Atwoods took this whole debacle before the state’s Tax Commission, which did nullify the sale. However, in 2002, they tried to sell their house only to learn that there was a lawsuit pending, filed by a company claiming ownership interests in the house as a result of that tax sale.
And then the house suffered damage from Katrina (the couple is currently living in a FEMA trailer in front of the damaged home) and the Atwoods didn’t qualify for federal aid because their title wasn’t clear (that is, there was a cloud on the title because of this pending lawsuit). Last May, a court ruled that the Atwoods did indeed own full title in the property. The case was of course appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court and the company’s president says that he doesn’t want a long drama, but that he wants his rights recognized. “I’ve been trying to settle this from the very beginning.” He claims that he’s begged the Atwoods to settle, offering to throw the case out for a payment between $2,000 and $5,000. Which seems reasonable, until you remember that they’re living in a FEMA trailer and probably can’t afford to pay shit for this hassle-lawsuit.
All this over $1.63. You really gotta love the legal system sometimes, don’t you?
A couple of years in prison isn’t enough for some
In Toledo, Ohio, 54-year-old Terry Walker has pled guilty to a third-degree charge of sexual battery. She’ll be sentenced later next month, and faces up to five years in the clink (and she’ll also get her name emblazoned on the pages of the sexual offender registry). This all stems form a long-term sexual relationship she had with her son, who is now 28.
The true sadness of this story is that her son, Kevin Ware, seems to have carried on the chain of abuse, as he’s now in jail because of pending rape charges over alleged sexual contact with a 7-year-old-girl. This mom and son should both be locked up for far longer than they likely will be.
The Daily Memo - 7/19/07
A Toronto judge has ruled “that Canada’s marijuana possession laws are unconstitutional.” (TheStar.com)
“Some five government witnesses and one juror got tossed because they read a blog about an ongoing criminal trial.” (May It Please the Court)
Fatty-fatty Steven Seagal is suing his former law firm, claiming that Loeb & Loeb’s $1 million fees were excessive (the firm represented him in 2002, when he appeared as a witness in a case involving a former business associate). (Law.com)
The District of Columbia is planning to appeal a Second Amendment case to the Supremes, and this could be a big deal if the Supremes grant cert. (Concurring Opinions)
“Microsoft patents the mother of all adware systems.” (ars technica)
Why Not Just Do a Rain Dance and be Done with It?
Alabama Governor Bob Riley has been dealing with the fact that his state is suffering a terrible drought right now. Crops are dying left and right, and there’s a concern that state rivers may not remain navigable without intervention by the Army Corps of Engineers (and nothing can go wrong with those guys on the scene, right?).
Stymied by this problem, Governor Riley issued an official proclamation calling for folks to pray for rain: “I, Bob Riley, Governor of Alabama, do hereby encourage citizens of Alabama to pray daily for rain.” Church leaders are of course in support of this proclamation, while the president of American Athiests is rather less supportive: “Words escape me. Are we really conjuring the rain gods to bring rain?” American Athiests is based in New Jersey, so my question is - what are they doing sticking their nose in Alabama’s business?
Common Sense Lesson #151
Ok. Let’s say you’re a deliveryman. And let’s say that you and your deliveryman partner have been tasked with delivering and setting up a television for someone in Cincinnati. And let’s further say that, after delivering the television, you and your deliveryman partner later realize that — whoops! — somehow you accidentally delivered and installed the television to the wrong person.
Do you (a) tell your boss, and let him handle it, (b) go talk to the wrongful-owner of the new TV, explaining that you never should’ve delivered it to them in the first place or (c) simply break into the home by popping out an AC unit, stealing the television back?
If you answered with (a) or (b), congrats - you’ve got common sense. If you answered with (c), I’m sorry to tell you that your name is Alan Chambers or Stephen Turner, and you’re now facing a burglary charge.
QuizLaw’s “Genius of the Month”
Our first ever “Genius of the Month” award goes to an unnamed Tallahassee, Florida man. This man, let’s call him Mr. Genius, was pulled over by Deputy Charlie McClure. McClure said he smelled booze on Mr. Genius’ breath, and asked him about it. At this point, Mr. Genius admitted that he had indeed been enjoying some beers from his 12-pack while driving. He was, of course, arrested and charged with a DUI.
Now the reason that Mr. Genius has earned this award isn’t because of any of this, exactly. Drunk driving is unfortunately all-too-common to earn Mr. Genius an award. Rather, he wins the award because of the reason he was pulled over. You see, Deputy McClure was riding behind Mr. Genius’ truck when a beer can was hucked out of the truck and, after bouncing off the road, landed on his patrol car! Which is, you know, sorta a hint that the driver of said truck might, just might, be boozing it up.
…Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that, if we actually keep up with this award, it’s going to go to a Floridian every month?
With apologies to “The Daily Show,” it’s time for This Week in God
God recently found himself sued in a Romanian court by 40-year-old Mircea Pavel, who’s currently in the clink for murder. Pavel sued God for “fraud, betrayal of trust, corruption and influence peddling” because the Lord Almighty failed to answer his prayers. Pavel’s complaint said:
At my christening, I made a deal with the defendant aimed at freeing me from evil. But the latter has not respected that agreement until now, although he received from me various assets and numerous prayers.
(Since the “defendant” in that blurb is God, shouldn’t the “d” be capitalized?)
Anyway, God managed to get out of this one relatively easily, as the Timisoara Court threw out Pavel’s case, noting that “God is not subject to law and does not have an address.”
The Daily Memo - 7/18/07
An argument against splitting up the Supremely-maligned Ninth Circuit. (Slate)
Is the fight over webcasting royalties boiling down to a battle over DRM and copyright? (Machinist)
The RIAA has been ordered to pay almost $70K in attorneys fees in the Debbie Foster case. (Recording Industry vs. The People)
The lawsuit brought by some orphans against ABC over “Extreme Makeover” has been tossed out of court. (Nota Bene)
The California Supremes have ruled that waivers you sign for sports may apply to negligent acts, but not to grossly negligent acts. (May It Please the Court)
The Cali Supremes also gave a billionaire permission to sue a California judge for malicious prosecution. (Law.com)
As a former physicist, I find the notion of analogizing the law and modern physics very interesting, and I do think it’s possible to make modern physics understandable to “not-physics-trained lawyers.” (Dorf on Law)
Judges Say the Darndest Things
Judge Ted Berry, a Cincinnati-area municipal judge, has raised quite a local kerfuffle. Ivan Boykins stood before Judge Berry, accused of trespassing and possession of marijuana. He pleaded no contest, and things turned to sentencing. Judge Berry offered to give Boykins probation, but Boykins wasn’t too keen on this idea because he wouldn’t be able to keep smoking weed while on probation. (Accord to the transcript, his exact words were: “No. I don’t want to do probation. I’m going to keep smoking.”)
So Judge Berry did what any of us probably would’ve done and basically said: “Fine, you don’t want probation? So you’re sentenced to thirty days in the clink.” I guess Boykins liked this even less, because he shouted out a hearty “fuck you” to Judge Berry.
Which is when Berry raised the minor kerfuffle because, instead of just hitting Boykins with a contempt of court charge, he countered with a “fuck you” of his own.
It’s virtually unheard of for a judge to curse at all from the bench, let alone to throw a “fuck you” the defendant’s way. And while this isn’t against the ABA’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, it does seem to go against the section on “decorum, demeanor, and communication” which says that a judge will be patient and dignified, requiring order and decorum.
Whatever - I salute Judge Berry. Why should he have to put up with such crap from Boykins? Besides, if our own Vice President can get away with telling folks to go fuck themselves, what’s the harm in a little judicial “fuck you” now and again?
Stupidest Lawsuit of the Moment
Jason Atkins founded a Hollywood-based company which broadcasts cockfights from Puerto Rico over the internet. Classy business. Now he can’t broadcast cockfights from the US, obviously, since cockfights have been banned in all states except for Louisiana (and they’ll be banned there effective next August). But Atkins’ bigger problem is a pesky federal law bans the creation, sale or possession of any videos or photographs which show the intentional wounding or killing of an animal. Seems to be little question that cockfighting webcasts would fall within the purview of this law, and that they wouldn’t qualify for an exemption (i.e., the animal cruelty isn’t for the purpose of science, education, religion, etc.).
To Atkins’ credit, rather than simply operating illegally, he’s decided to get a legal ruling on the issue by suing the Department of Justice in an attempt to get a ruling that this law shouldn’t apply to him. His lawyer says he’s trying to do everything “openly above board,” and that he’ll close his business down if the lawsuit is unsuccessful. So I can sorta’ applaud Atkins for working within the system.
However, his legal argument is crap. Basically, he says that cockfighting is legal in Puerto Rico. Plus, “[t]hese birds are doing what they naturally do. … To me, it’s more humane than fishing or hunting.” So he reasons that he should be allowed to broadcast activity which is legal in the place where he records it. Particularly because the law in question was, he argues, designed to go after fetish videos, rather than cockfighting videos.
But this is ridiculous because, at the end of the day, the law is pretty clear - you can’t create and sell videos showing the intentional wounding or killing of an animal. It doesn’t say “illegal” wounding or killing. If it did, then he might have an argument. But as it stands, the legality of this stupid “sport” in Puerto Rico is simply irrelevant.
But don’t you go feeling sorry for Atkins. Even if he can’t continue with his cockfight webcasting, his website (www.ToughSportsLive.com) also includes “Girls and Guns,” which are videos of chicks in bikinis firing off automatic guns (“sexy hips with loaded clips”). And there’s surely nothing illegal about hot chicks shooting the hell out of stuff, right?
Gimme your wallet and jewelery!!…and a glass of Port.
A group of friends managed to thwart a potential mugging in a very unusual way … with a group hug and a glass of wine.
While the group was dining on a patio in the District of Columbia, a would-be mugger slipped in and put a gun to the head of a 14-year-old girl. Cristina Rowan offered the man a glass of wine, which he accepted. After taking a sip and a bite of cheese, the man apologized for the incident and asked … for a hug?
After partaking in a group hug, the man took off. Police are still in search of a suspect.
Ummm … WTF?? Thankfully no one was hurt. Apparently Chateau Malescot St-Exupery is the newest weapon in the fight against crime.
You can take this trash and shove it!
Tom Mirabelli is rather ticked off over the fact that his local trash collectors twice failed to make their scheduled cardboard pickups over the last three weeks (they’re supposed to make a pickup every other week). He called the local waste management department to register his complaint, but that got him nowhere. He also got into a fight with a town trash collector who wouldn’t haul off his cardboard. So Mirabelli did the only logical thing - < ahref="http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/4966366.html">he hauled his eight pounds of cardboard down to the local Town Hall and left it on the front steps.
He’s now been hit with littering and obstructing a right of way citations, and will surely pay a nice little fine to settle them. In the calmer light of another day, he realizes that this wasn’t his best play: “In retrospect, I shouldn’t have done it. … I admit I was wrong for putting the garbage on their steps, but I was frustrated.” On the other hand, of course, it worked –public safety officials eventually removed the cardboard and disposed of it.
Homer, would you like the final word?
The Daily Memo - 7/17/07
“A look at Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b).” (Law.com)
Toys ‘R’ Us is being sued for alleged discrimination against black customers. (Yahoo! News)
What of the “DUCK TOURS” trademark? (The TTABlog)
Well this is awful - a Nevada couple has pleaded guilty to child neglect charges stemming from the the fact that they “were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems.” (USA Today)
Asshat Stephen Dunne (he’s suing the MA Bar over that heinous gay marriage question) is seeking financial support from all good and righteous Christians. (Keepin Up with Jonas)
Gimme an “S!” Gimme a “U!” Gimme an “E!”
Yup, we’re talking cheerleader lawsuit. Wycoda Fisher was very excited, as an incoming high school freshman, to try out for the school’s junior variety squad. She was somewhat less excited when she wound up being the only girl cut from the squad (there were seven gals trying out for six spots). So her parents rallied to her defense and took their grievance before the school board. Their argument relied on the school’s cheerleader constitution.
Yup, a cheerleader constitution. “We the popular girls of High School, in order to form a more perfect cheer pyramid, establish dance routines, insure firm pompoms, provide for the support of our teams, etc. etc.”
Anyway, this constitution says that the school’s varsity squad should have eight spots. But an exception was made, and nine girls were allowed on. So the Fishers think a similar exception should’ve been made for the JV squad. In fact, the high school principal approved an extra spot on the squad, but the superintendent but the kibosh on this, demanding that there be the normal tryouts.
The schoolboard upheld the superintendent’s decision in a 5-1-1 vote, and the Fishers have now said, of course, that they’re planning a lawsuit. Their lawyer put it thusly: “The school district nor the superintendent has offered a satisfactory explanation as to why Wycoda was singled out. … We have no other option but to move forward with the lawsuit.”
…Sigh. “We have no other option.” How about, oh I don’t know, Wycoda take up lacrosse. Or gymnastic. Or knitting.
(Hat tip to Nota Bene, although I’m not sure why he makes it sound like it’s such a bad thing that one of the lessons of this story is that “if you can’t successfully compete against your peers, you should file a lawsuit!” That’s the spirit of America, after all!)
Florida finally recognizes that there’s this First Amendment thinger
Last Monday, James White was dragging a US flag from his bike. At one point, he hopped off the bike and started stomping on the flag. Tampa police showed up at some point, and White then rubbed the flag all over himself, and then tossed it back onto the ground to stomp some more. The cops proceeded to arrest White under a Florida anti-flag desecration law that’s been around since 1919.
White was stuck in jail for several days, until Thursday, when someone finally remembered that the First Amendment kinda, you know, protects White’s actions. The state attorney’s office decided to drop the charges after looking into the incident, primarily since the Supremes ruled, in a 1989 case, that a similar Texas flag desecration law was unconstitutional. And Tampa police officers have been advised to longer enforce the 1919 law.
Of course, not everyone thinks this is the right outcome. Firefighter Pete Paolillo, who saw the whole flag incident go down and apparently tried to wrestle the flag away from White, said: “It seems like everyone takes freedom of speech for granted. … I don’t think that when our forefathers were coming up with the Constitution they thought people would be using freedom of speech to desecrate the United States flag.” He added: “The fabric of the Constitution is being stepped on just like that flag was, and I think that’s pretty sad.”
Great, firefighter Pete, thanks for playing.
And car salesmen wonder why they’re hated?
Last October, 10,000 Georgia owners of GM cars got a troubling flier in the mail. Labled “Urgent Potential Recall Notice,” the flier basically claimed that their cars were unsafe and that GM had issued a recall. Trouble is, it wasn’t based on any truth or facts. Instead, according to a lawsuit filed by the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, it was part of a deceptive ploy by Bill Heard Chevrolet to get folks in to the lot to either buy new cars or get new service plans on their old cars.
Bill Heard is apparently the largest Georgia-based car dealership, and the Office of Consumer Affairs alleges that this mailing is just the latest in 16 years of deceptive practices, and the agency has had enough. While this is the first lawsuit brought against Bill Heard by the agency (in fact, it’s the first lawsuit filed by the agency at all in seven years, and the first against a dealership since 1975), this isn’t their first run-in. The agency has fined Bill Heard 15 times over the last 16 years, for almost $300,000 in total penalties and, each time, the dealership promised to stop its deceptive practices. And since it hasn’t, the agency wants to up the ante, asking for a fine of $5,000 per mailing, which adds up to a whopping $50 million.
The dealership, of course, has taken the pass-the-buck approach, arguing that it wasn’t willfully trying to break any laws and acknowledging that the mailings were obviously “not appropriate,” but claiming that it’s their ad firm’s fault. Of course it is. Bill Heard Chevrolet is also planning a lawsuit of its own against the Office of Consumer Affairs, because it thinks it’s been unfairly targeted, and that most of the complaints to the agency have not come from consumers, but from competing dealerships tying to bring down the state’s Big Dog.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and a broken whiskey bottle
Well this is a perfectly fine way to start off an article and grab the reader’s attention: “An argument at a wedding reception escalated into a melee that included punches, a broken whiskey bottle and a stun gun, police said.”
Seems that Samantha Donovan and Jeff Williams were one of the many couples looking to have a lucky 7/7/07 wedding day. And while the wedding itself went off without a hitch, things got a bit rough at the reception. I guess it started when the groom’s brother, Michael Williams, hit on a guest. Which seems perfectly normal to me - that’s what wedding receptions are really for, after all; drunk single guys hitting on the gals. But the groom’s cousin, James Skaggs, was apparently bothered by this. So Skaggs, his sister, Susan Swim, and her fiancé, Shane Bird, decided to jet out of the reception a bit early.
When they hit the parking lot, they ran into Michael Williams and two of his friends. A fight broke out, although the origins of the fight are unclear (drunken words led to someone throwing a punch or doing a headbutt, most likely - right?). When the cops showed up, Skaggs was on top of one of Williams’ buddies, punching him in the face! When Skaggs refused to comply with the cops’ request to stop, he got himself stun-gunned. His sister then hopped onto the back of a cop, because that’s always the smart move when you’re about to get arrested anyway (she of course claims that it wasn’t her at all and that the cops have the wrong person).
As for the broken whiskey bottle, that was the result of one of Williams’ friends getting thwacked over the head with a then-whole whiskey bottle.
All six of them were arrested and charged with misdemeanor public fighting. But the whiskey-bottle-to-the-head guy is actually in a boatload of trouble, as he was hit with a bunch of other charges, including assaulting a cop and drug possession, plus he had several outstanding warrants.
And unsurprisingly, a local police sergeant says that wedding fights are unusual but that he’s seen them before in his 19 years of service:
“I’ve arrested the bride and groom before at the wedding reception,” he said.
Man, I’ve been to a lot of weddings, but I have yet to see a bride and groom get arrested. How come I miss out on all the fun?!
The Daily Memo - 7/16/07
Is California going to run out of lawyers soon? (May It Please the Court)
A Florida man is having some trouble trying to convince the courts that he shouldn’t pay over $10,000 in back-child support for a daughter who, as proven by DNA tests, isn’t his. (CNN)
A Cambridge University PhD candidate has calculated that the optimal amount of protection for copyrights is 14 years. (ars technica)
Professor Bainbridge takes a look at an amusing and dismissive dissenting opinion where the Judge admits to not even bothering with reading the majority opinion. (Professor Bainbridge)
Check out some hot documents from “the biggest Mob trial in years.” (Slate)
A Florida teen has been arrested and charged with repeatedly breaking into his neighbor’s house to watch internet porn. WFTV)
Washington’s Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s Consumer Protection Act invalidates the part of cell phone contracts which require customers to waive the right to bring class-action lawsuits. (SeattlePI.com)
“Ambulance chasers? We don’t need no stinkin’ ambulance chasers.”
Wisconsin’s state Assembly is considering a plan which would eliminate all state funding for the University of Wisconsin’s law school. This plan is spearheadded by Representative Frank Lasee who, quite frankly, simply thinks there are already enough lawyers in the Cheese State. As he put it:
We don’t need more ambulance chasers. We don’t need frivolous lawsuits. And we don’t need attorneys making people’s lives miserable when they go to family court for divorces. …And I think that having too many attorneys leads to all those bad results.
Unsurprisingly, the law school’s dean is unhappy with this plan, since it means the school would either have to cut some of its programs or raise tuition by five grand per year. It seems that there’s little chance of the funding-cut actually coming to fruition, however, because even if it remains in the final state budget, the Governor is likely to veto it. The Governor’s mom apparently used to work at the law school and he called the plan “a really bizarre thing that came out of nowhere.” In fact, the Governor speculated that Lasee might actually have “some personal beef” against the school.” Lasee, of course, claims that it’s nothing personal, and that he just thinks there are “too many attorneys clogging our court system and hurting our citizens looking for work for themselves.”
Were I Nick Naylor, I would of course spin Lasee’s statement into an attack against, and indictment of, Wisconsin cheese and the fact it is causing the clogging of Americans’ arteries. But I’m not Nick Naylor, so I shan’t.
The best alibi ever. And of course, by “best” I mean “WTF?”
Back in 2003, Brian Wells robbed a bank. But it was like something out of a bad action flick, as he came into the bank with a bomb locked around his neck and, as he would later tell the cops, he was allegedly being forced to commit the robbery. Things didn’t end so well for Wells, as the bomb went off, obviously killing the pizza delivery man. After four years, charges have finally been filed in connection with the heist, against Kenneth E. Barnes and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.
The cops think that Wells was originally in on the robbery planning with the other two, only to have things turn against him when they suddenly latched a bomb around his neck. Bummer for him, right?
Anyway, here’s where things get really bizarre. Diehl-Armstrong happens to already be in prison over the murder of an ex-boyfriend, James Roden. She pleaded guilty (by reason of insanity) to this crime after another boyfriend ratted out the fact that Roden’s body was chilling in a freezer. Now, Diehl-Armstrong killed Roden about two weeks before the bank heist took place. So her lawyer is now using this murder as her alibi, saying the mentally ill woman was so obsessed with her now-dead ex that there’s no way she could’ve been involved in planning the bank robbery.
He’s saying the dead body in her freezer is, in essence, her alibi!
This is much more interesting than the actual plot of Her Alibi, although I’ll say that Paulina Porizkova is perhaps just slightly more attractive than Marjorie. I’m just saying.
Uh, Miss, we’re gonna have to ask you to NOT burn the baby.
The next time your kids ask you “…are we there yet…” feel free to tell them the story of 29-year-old Shaunte Mitchell of Lebanon.
She was found wandering by Lebanon (no, not that Lebanon) police, naked, around 2:30 in the morning. A caller reported her to police, stating that Shaunte was roaming the road naked with a child, and was “…taking the infant to Satan”.
You would think that Old Scratch could spring for 3 Day Delivery … cheap bastard.
The infant was found abandoned on the road, unharmed. Mitchell is being charged with child endangerment, and aggravated arson.
I couldn’t find any mention of this “Arson” guy, or why he would be aggravated with Mitchell. Although I’m sure the kid was probably being a real pain in the ass. I’m just sayin’.
Well yeah, but lawyers don’t need to know math anyways, right?
Last week I told you about Stephen Dunne, the asshat who’s suing the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners because he failed the exam after refusing to answer the vile (rep-re-hensible, I say!) question that involved a married gay couple. Well our lovely reader Three Elle pointed us to this PDF copy of his “Amendment to Complaint”, which was filed on Monday. In it, he makes two quick little itty-bitty changes to his original complaint, reproduced for you now:
PLAINTIFF, STEPHEN DUNNE, amends the complaint in this action as follows:
1. On page 39, line 13, $2,500,000 is changed to $2.50.
2. On page 39, line 17, $7,250,000 is changed to $7.25.
Now I neglected to mention this in my original post, but Dunne was seeking a preposterous $9,750,000 in damages. Which is what those two original amounts add up to. So this means, with his amendment, he’s now merely seeking $9.75. As Keeping Up with Jonas points out, that doesn’t even come anywhere near the $350 he dropped just to file his complaint.
But it’s not fair to really mock him, since lawyers never claim to be mathematicians. And as Three Elle put it: “To be fair, he was only off by 6 decimal places.”
(Dunne says that he made this change to show that this lawsuit isn’t about money: “It’s about equity and justice, and I wanted to be very clear about that.”)
Common Sense Lesson #150
Let’s play a game of MadLibs!
Two guys allegedly held up a hotel last Friday and stole some money and a laptop. They eventually wound up in a police chase. Hoping to evade the pesky cops, the suspects decided to take a detour and suddenly found themselves in _____________ (noun).
If you said “their own butts,” I like your juvenile sense of humor. But if you said “the dead-end parking lot of the local police department,” congratulations, because that’s exactly where George Davis and Guy Anthony Williams wound up.
And the lesson here? Next time you’re involved in a robbery which might lead to a cop chase, think ahead and include a GPS among the items you pilfer.
The Daily Memo - 7/13/07
Arizona’s Senate has approved a bill banning the sale of anti-war t-shirts that include the names of dead soldiers, First Amendment be damned. (AZstarnet.com)
But Oregon gets the First Amendment, expanding the rights of student journalists. (Nota Bene)
Sigh … the DC asshat isn’t done yet, as he’s claiming the court made a “fundamental legal error” in deciding he wasn’t entitled to $54 million over a lost pair of pants. (FindLaw)
The Court of Appeals for DC has ruled that Sunday’s scheduled rate-hike for webcasters will not be postponed. (c|net news.com)
It’s the end of an era - no longer will lawyers and judges be required to wear wigs in non-criminal cases. (Yahoo! News)
Does the story even matter?
Seriously, all that matters is the picture, right? It’s awesome, right?
So yeah, whatever. That’s Steven S. Cole, a former volunteer firefighter in Ohio who was busted back in April for a DUI and public indecency:
Police arrested Cole on April 4 in his truck as he was leaving Heritage Oak Park in this Cincinnati suburb after parents complained about a man dressed in women’s clothing.
Police said they found an open, half-empty bottle of beer in the truck, along with a gym bag containing wigs, bikinis, silver go-go boots and other women’s garments.
Cole’s blood-alcohol test registered 0.17, more than twice Ohio’s legal driving limit of 0.08, police said.
The arrest report said Cole told an officer he was on his way to a bar in Dayton to perform as a woman in a contest offering a $10,000 prize.
Last week he copped a plea bargain to the DUI charge, and got the public indecency charge dropped. But like I said - whatever. It’s all about the picture.
…That chick is hot!
What’s the shoe polish for?
Holy hell - Timothy Joseph Pentaleri, a 42-year-old army officer, was charged last month with attempted kidnapping and attempted harassment/stalking. Seems that he showed up to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport on June 29 in a wig and fake mustache and beard. Unsurprisingly, he looked suspicious while hanging out like this in the baggage area, so the cops stopped him to have a little chat. This led to them finding out that he was carrying all sorts of fun toys with him: a stun gun, a folding pocket knife, an expandable baton and three cans of Mace. So they hit Pentaleri up with a trespassing charge and escorted him off the airport property, dumping him off at a nearby hotel.
The cops then went back to the airport and started looking at surveillance footage, from which they were able to track down Pentaleri’s SUV. So they went to check it out and, through the window, they say that there was a shovel, rope, flex cuffs and a duffel bag. This is when Pentaleri had the bad timing to actually return to his SUV, with the cops right there. Doh! After getting a search warrant, the cops found out what was in that duffel bag, and things just went from bad to worse for Pentaleri - his bag contained, among other things, six condoms, a turkey baster, KY jelly, plastic gloves, zip ties, lighters, shoe polish and Clorox wipes.
Worse yet, the cops also found a notebook which pieced everything together, as it laid out Pentaleri’s plan to find and catch an ex-girlfriend. There was also a handwritten flow chart which identified his ultimate goal to “club her hard” (and there were two backup plans, in case she wasn’t alone, one of which was apparently a “fatal” plan). Seems he’d been harassing his ex since their breakup in April, and this was obviously the culmination of the harassment. The cops later confirmed that the ex did, in fact, fly through the airport that day, so it sounds like she was very lucky that the cops were pretty diligent in doing their job.
Microsoft has been sued by a Florida man over the Xbox 360. Jorge Brouwer is ticked off with his Xbox, claiming that it is scratching his game discs. He says his copies of both “Gears of War” and “Madden NFL 07” were scratched up by his Xbox, and when he contacted Microsoft about it, the company offered to replace the games for $20 more of Brouwer’s money.
So Brouwer said “forget you” and ran off to federal court, where he’s now seeking $5 million and class-action status. Brouwer says that Microsoft was negligent in designing and manufacturing the game box, which has resulted in the company getting thousands of complaints about scratched discs. Microsoft, of course, denies this, saying that “out of the millions of Xbox consoles in use, Microsoft has not received any widespread reports of Xbox 360s scratching discs,” although the statement doesn’t say what number of complaints would bee deemed as “widespread reports” by the company.
Without knowing anything else about the situation, I’m personally ready to find Microsoft guilty because, quite frankly, nobody should have to deal with their Madden game getting messed up. That’s just wrong!
Lawyers say the darndest things
Down in Utah, a 19-year-old man (who is also the son of a polygamist already in the clink) was sentenced to 6 months in the clink for having sex with a 13-year-old-girl he met on MySpace. While he was charged with rape, he eventually pled out to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.
But the man’s attorney, who actually prosecuted his father for bigamy and failure to pay child support, says the man was just a victim of being raised in an environment where age wasn’t an integral issue in sexual relations. And then the lawyer said this:
He’s a remorseful kid. He’s married and has full-time work. I think you’ll see this is a blip on the radar screen.
I think I get attorney David Leavitt’s point here, but how about a little sensitivity for the fact that your client was just sentenced for having sex with a thirteen-year-old girl? If that’s just a “blip on the radar screen,” remind me to never go to Utah. Like, ever.
We’ve secretly replaced the water in NC with Dumb Fuckerade…let’s see if they notice.
Folks, I know you’re used to the smarmy and downright hilarious stuff we interject into these stories … but DAMNIT if the level of rampant stupidity in this article doesn’t speak for itself.
Apparently Billy Bob and Jenny May let little Bobby Sue marry skeevey Mr. Wuchae and now have the monumental balls to sue the Brunswick County Board of Edumacation for not doing enough to protect their precious angel. Silly School Board, making parents think they’re responsible for their own kids.
Oh, lest I forget, they “reluctantly signed” a consent form allowing their 16-year-old daughter to marry the 40 year old man … it must have been one of those “We reserve the right to sue you if we realize what colossal fuck up’s we are”, consent forms. I’m really not sure who’s she better off with at this point, the brain dead parents or the pedophile.
Yeah, that was my head exploding this time.
The Daily Memo - 7/12/07
Some court clerks cannot, it turns out, be bribed with free beer. (Yahoo! News)
“A school district agreed to pay $33,250 to settle a lawsuit by a former student who accused an elementary school teacher of wrapping tape around his head for talking too much.” (Lawinfo)
The ABA is looking at tightening its requirements for law schools and the bar passage rate of their graduates. (Law.com)
Yet another argument in favor of splitting up the Ninth Circuit, this time because a split could lead to less Supreme reversals. (WSJ Law Blog)
An appellate court is allowing a lawsuit against my beloved Dunkin’ Donuts to move forward, said lawsuit being brought by a Muslim franchisee owner and involving a fight about pork. (Fox News)
Ethics charges have been filed against the Massachusetts judge who recently won a $2 million libel verdict against the Boston Herald. (Law.com)
AOL has agreed to a $3 million settlement in a multi-state class action dispute over its subscription cancellation policies. (Download Squad)
A NJ state Senator wants to ban the sale of all realistic-looking toy guns to kids. (WABC)
It should come as no surprise that “oral arguments” work a little different down in Florida
A Florida state Representative, Bob Allen, was arrested yesterday for soliciting an undercover cop in a park bathroom. Allen apparently kept going in and out of the bathroom, presumably trolling for manmeat. He eventually offered to give the undercover cop oral pleasures for $20 which is, you know, what got him arrested.
But he was going to pay to give a BJ? I love Florida!
BREAKING and SHOCKING News
This just in - President Bush just might be … shhhh … a dick.
He often uses his unique form of dismissive sarcasm to respond to the many unfriendly questions flung his way by the White House press corps. I’m sure you’re familiar with what I’m talking about. Well he tried the same thing during an immigration forum he was at in Ohio, and he got a slightly different result than what he’s used.
Yup - Bush made a 13-year-old girl cry!
Little Jessica Hackerd asked Bush a question about his dead immigration bill. It was a pretty basic and straightforward question: “Mr. President, I know immigration has been a big problem in the U.S. And what is your next step with the immigration bill?”
Bringing up this loss obviously hurt Bushy-wushy, who replied with a sarcastic and wry “yeah, thanks.” This got some laughs from the audience, but little Jessica Hackerd started tearing up. The President then back-peddled, trying to fix the situation by telling her it was a great question which he appreciated. Obviously.
To the credit of one of his aides, Jessica and her family were snagged after Bush’s talk was over, and hurried away to a private meeting with Bush. But that doesn’t change the fact that Bush made a thirteen-year-old girl cry. Ladies and gentlemen, our President!
The case of the missing staple
No, this isn’t a new Encyclopedia Brown adventure. Rather, it’s the story of a massive blunder Down Under. Back in the late 80s or early 90s, two men were convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a Sydney woman. In 1992, they lost their final appeal, which should’ve been the end of their legal story. However, “an astonishing blunder” of “sloppy record keeping” has brought the story back to life.
Seems that, at some point in the Austrailian judicial process, you get a Crown Indictment (I’m too lazy to look all this up, but I’m guessing it’s something like a final verdict). Australian laws and the rules of the New South Wales Supreme Court require this Indictment to be fixed to the court file in order for the Crown Indictment to be “finalised.” And while there are staple holes in the top of the indictment, there is no actual staple, so the killers’ lawyers are arguing that the Indictment was never properly finalized.
And last year, the Court of Criminal Appeal agreed that the staple holes alone weren’t enough to establish that the Indictment had been attached to the court file. Nevertheless, the court tossed the killers’ appeal as to their sentence anyway. But now the Supreme Court has agreed to hear their appeal this September, which has led to an outcry of outrage from the community, since it means these men could arguably have their sentence overturned due to a missing staple.
As a result of this outrage, there’s now a massive review being done of every criminal file in the New South Wales Supreme Court’s records, to make sure no other staples are missing. And the Supreme Court is also going to look into closing that little loophole in its rules, which sounds like a good idea.
You know you want to watch a video of a former Playboy playmate (one Jennifer Jackson) being arrested for a DUI in Ohio, right? Right.
The Daily Memo - 7/11/07
Talk about creepy - Wal-Mart’s being sued for collecting on up to 100 life insurance policies taken out on employees without their knowledge. (TBO.com)
I’m cashing in baby! The Bar/Bri settlement has been approved, although incentive payments to the lead plaintiffs were rejected. (WSJ Law Blog)
David Lat noticed a law firm cameo in Transformers but more importantly - when he says “we watched” the flick, despite clearly talking about only seeing it himself, is this a hint that he’s an amalgamation of entities? Like Devastator?(Above the Law)
Is the legal blogosphere flat and stagnant? (And for the record, as our readership continues to make a healthy climb, I’d argue “not necessarily.”) (Concurring Opinions)
“Magician Uri Geller accused of bending copyright law.” (Fox News)
Awwww …. poor old Senator Ted Stevens is worried that a DOJ corruption investigation might cause him some troubles in next year’s re-election campaign. (WSAW)
The town of Oyster Bay (on Long Island) is being sued by a member of Jews for Jesus who says she was ticketed in a public park “for chatting about God with passersby.” (UPI)
A California Assemblyman wants an eight percent tax on porn. (CBS5)
Are we sure this potential juror’s name wasn’t Ugly Kid Joe?
Daniel Ellis is a Cape Cod man who was called into his local court as a potential juror on Monday. Specifically, he was in a pool of 60 folks, of which 23 people were being culled for a grand jury. When he got to the courthouse, Ellis filled out the typical jury questionnaire, although his answers weren’t so typical, as he wrote that he hated blacks and gays.
This obviously caught Judge Gary Nickerson’s attention, so the issue came up in the courtroom. Ellis told the judge that he was, indeed, a racist and a homophobe. And a habitual liar. In fact, here’s part of their conversation, complete with Ellis’ own attempt at a quasi-punchline:
“You say on your form that you’re not a fan of homosexuals,” Nickerson said.
“That I’m a racist,” Ellis interrupted.
“I’m frequently found to be a liar, too. I can’t really help it,” Ellis added.
“I’m sorry?” Nickerson said.
“I said I’m frequently found to be a liar,” Ellis replied.
“So, are you lying to me now?” Nickerson asked.
“Well, I don’t know. I might be,” was the response.
But Ellis then fessed up to not actually be a lying racist homophobe, and that he was simply trying to get out jury duty. At which point Judge Nickerson bitchslapped him: “In 32 years of service in courtrooms, as a prosecutor, as a defense attorney and now as a judge, I have quite frankly never confronted such a brazen situation of an individual attempting to avoid juror service.” Ellis was then taken into custody and, although he was released later in the morning, he will likely face perjury charges (and maybe some other nasty charges).
Folks, just serve your jury duty.
(As a bonus, head over to YouTube to check out Ugly Kid’s Joe video for their classic “Everything About You” - I’d embed it, but Universal Music Group is, apparently, not so much a fan of the embedding.)
“Applicants Must Have Balls of Steel”
So last Friday, new weekly job postings went up on Lawyers Weekly’s job page. One of them comes from the Department of State, which is advertising an “International Legal Opportunity.”
Anyone who knows anything about the legal profession likely knows that with government lawyer jobs, there are usually far too many applicants, often times several hundred applicants per job opening. So what kind of government lawyer job is so hard to fill that the State Department has to resort to classified listings?
“The Department of State has an exciting opportunity available for an energetic, self-motivated U.S. citizen to serve as Senior Rule of Law Advisor in Embassy Baghdad.”
Uhm, yeah, that’d explain it. So it would seem the government’s having trouble finding lawyers who want to be relocated to Baghdad. Which is shocking, right?
Another interesting thing here is that the Lawyers Weekly classified pages include listings for 17 states plus the District of Columbia. Yet the State Department only appears to have run its ad in the Massachusetts classifieds. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the state has a particular overpopulation of lawyers with an exceptionally small pool of lawyer jobs (i.e., there be lots of unemployed lawyers in much of Massachusetts). It’d be cynical to think the government was specifically targeting folks desperate for work by waving this tempting, tempting offer before them, right?
In any event, I know we have some lawyers who read this site, so if you’re interested, here’s the full listing. I suspect the first person to actually apply will the get the job, so your chances should be quite high.
The Department of State has an exciting opportunity available for an energetic, self-motivated U.S. citizen to serve as Senior Rule of Law Advisor in Embassy Baghdad. The Advisor plays a central role at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, in developing policy and programs to assist in developing the Iraqi justice system. Duties include designing, implementing, and managing programs to train and build the capacity of judges; provide security for courts, judges, and witnesses; support coordination among police, courts, and prisons; and to support other programs that promote the development of an independent judiciary and functioning legal and criminal justice system in Iraq. Applicants must have either a law degree and five years of legal experience (preferably in an international criminal justice setting), or at least five years of experience in the design and implementation of international rule of law/justice capacity-building and training programs. Applicants must also have superior interpersonal skills, excellent oral and written communications skills, and eligibility for State Department security and medical clearances. Preferred qualifications include experience working on international justice-related programs and issues in post-conflict settings, experience with Middle East culture, familiarity with civil law systems, basic Arabic language ability, and knowledge of the U.S. Government interagency process. For additional information, please contact Suzanne Sheldon, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, at 202-647-0456 or via email at: SheldonSA@State.gov. For a full copy of the solicitation (PSC-07-040-INL) and application instructions for this position, please contact Mary Pat Hayes-Crow via email at: Hayes-CrowMP2@state.gov.
Michael Moore Loses His Shit ….
Damnit! It was only a matter of time, I suppose. In my review of Sicko a couple of weeks ago, the one thing I’d hoped for was that Michael Moore would shut the hell up and let his movie do his talking for him. So much for that. Yesterday, he went on a tirade against poor Wolf Blitzer, who is contractually prohibited by his alien keepers from raising his voice or changing his pitch to defend himself.
Granted, Moore is mostly in his rights to get all self-righteous here, but really there’s no sense in bashing Sanjay Gupta, an innocent bystander. I mean, c’mon: His medical advice may not be entirely sound or really all that informative (he often sounds as though he’s reading from a hospital brochure), but he sure is dreamy. I’ve always thought that he and Anderson Cooper would make a wonderful couple. Am I right?
… Sorry. So yeah, Michael Moore loses his cool. Wolf Blitzer stammers. They both embarrass themselves. And then (fucking motherfucking assheel bitch) Lou Dobbs drops in to suck up all the stale air in the room. Shame it wasn’t carbon monoxide.
(Hat Tip: The Evil Beet)
She Had It Coming
Last week, in the quiet town of Orem, Utah, a menacing police officer knocked on the door of law-breakin’ Betty Perry. He was angry. Spitting nails, angry. For Perry had repeatedly violated a town ordinance. She had flagrantly ignored the law. And the officer wasn’t going to take this bullshit anymore. He’d had enough. By damn, he was going to write her a ticket.
The game of wits began. The officer asked Perry for her name. She refused to give it. “I didn’t want to tell him anything until I talked to a lawyer … I wanted to see what he’d tell me to do,”
The officer took the challenge. A tense standoff ensued. The officer, snarling rabidly, began to write a ticket. He scribbled it out in angry pen, huffing with resentment. Perry, indignant, ran back inside her house. The officer’s lips curled. He gave chase, attempting to handcuff Perry for resisting a ticket. Perry tripped. She scraped her elbows and knees. There was blood on the door. On her clothes. On her porch. Everywhere. It was like a grade-school jungle gym without a first aid kit. Gruesome.
The persistent officer eventually subdued Perry and handcuffed her. He threw her in his cruiser and took her to prison, where she could rot in jail for all he cared. The woman, scared, laid down in her cell and awaited her rescuer. An hour later — a harrowing, dread-filled hour — police eventually released the convict.
Oh yeah: I should probably mention that Betty Perry was a 70-year-old widow — a little old lady. And her crime? She refused to water her lawn.
That bitch got what she deserved.
The Daily Memo - 7/10/07
Dahlia Lithwick chronicles “[h]ow Sandra Day O’Connor became the least powerful jurist in America.” (Slate)
And speaking of the Supremes, Professor Dorf asks: “Is it possible to teach the meaning of precedent in the era of the Roberts Court?” (Dorf on Law)
My (former) Philly boy Allen Iverson has been ordered to pay over a quarter-million dollars by a jury, in a lawsuit brought by a man who got into a brawl with Iverson’s entourage. (The 700 Level)
Boston’s District Attorney answers five reader questions, including why the city’s homicide rate is so high and how come the city is having trouble getting folks to serve for jury duty. (Universal Hub)
The special prosecutor and the White House both agree that Scooter Libby must serve the supervised release portion of his sentence. (SCOTUSblog)
Michigan’s Supreme Court has ruled that the First Amendment doesn’t protected a lawyer’s right to refer to judges as jackasses who are like Nazis. (Law.com)
What of outsourcing law? (Concurring Opinions)
McDonald’s is being sued by a woman with incredibly short and underdeveloped arms (due to Holt-Oram Syndrome) because of problems she had at its drive-thrus when she tried to complete purchases using her feet. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Dance Dance Prosecution
A video of “Dancing Burglar” Stephen Ray Edwards helped police catch the burglary suspect after the police recognized his vehicle as the same one involved in a crash with police officers. I guess Edwards stepped to the left when he should have done a hand plant to the right.
Investigator Darren Benedict was the one to point out the truck in the video as the same involved in the crash. After identifying Edwards as the suspect, officers from Cobb County, Gwinnett County and Alpharetta will be seeking to question Edwards. I’ll be looking to question Edwards myself: the last time I tried a little DDR, I had some, um, “assistance” of the pharmaceutical kind and still almost had a coronary.
No more super-happy-fun-time-go! for Edwards.
*News article has video of the dancing fool.
The latest lawyer putting my profession in a wonderful light
This here is what we call a two-fer. We love stories about lawyers that file their own stupid lawsuits, and we also love stories about stupid parents. And this one has a little from column A and a little from column B.
Fred Grady is a construction lawyer for a well known law firm down in Tampa Bay (ah, Florida, is there anything you can’t do?). And he’s also the father to Heath, a 10-year-old boy who plays in the local little league. During Heath’s April 28 game, Grady was filling in as the coach for Heath’s team when there was an Incident. According to the league’s director, Linda Harrell, who was sitting behind Grady’s dugout, Grady hit a kid on the head with a water bottle. The kid turned out to be Heath, although Grady denies hitting him with a bottle. Regardless of whether there was an actual head-bonk, Harrell and Grady got into it a little bit of a tiff, and Grady was eventually tossed out of the game and off the field. Grady says that he was humiliated by Harrell’s “loud, boisterous and demanding” posturing.
Which of course means the poor baby is now thinking about suing the league for defamation. Last month, he sent a letter to the league’s president requesting, under state law, that the league provide him with information about its insurance policy. Also, in e-mails to the league president, Grady demanded that Harrell write a letter of apology which Grady could then send to all of Heath’s teammates and their parents. When Grady got no such letter, he sent several more e-mails which suggested possible legal action.
Heath Grady claims that he has no actual intent, at the moment, to sue. However, he has engaged his own law firm to represent him, and one of his e-mails to the league president contained the following language:
“If [the league] decides or has decided the Director acted outside of her scope of authority then so be it but that issue will NOT be determined by me, but rather by a judge or jury if this matter proceeds.”
And another e-mail included the following:
“If the [league] is not prepared to resolve the matter along these lines then I will have no other choice but to take legal action against [the league] and Ms. Harrell individually.”
So yeah, he may not be “intending” to sue, just yet, but he sure is threatening to, right? Now I will say that the bottle incident itself sounds a little fishy - it supposedly took place in the dugout, yet Harrell was behind the dugout; so I’m not so sure how she was clearly able to see the alleged event. But even if you buy Grady’s version of the story (that he merely grabbed a water bottle out of Heath’s hand and tossed it into the trash), this “case” still doesn’t seem to reach the level of defamation, does it?
Oh, and it’ll come as no surprise that this isn’t Grady’s first time being ejected from his son’s games. Last year, he got tossed for arguing over a call with an ump.
Way to teach your son how to be an upstanding citizen, Mr. Grady. Hats off to you.
(And for the record, when I referred to Grady as a “poor baby,” this was merely my opinion and not any statement of fact. I’ll thank you not to threaten me with a defamation lawsuit, Mr. Grady. Sir.)
Well this sure sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen
Over the past six months, Geico has received 131 accident reports (!) from one of its insured clients, a truck driver. It’s unclear what these claims amount to in total, but given that one claim was for over $6.5 million, and another two were for over $300,000 and $600,000, we’re probably talking about total claims in the order of at least $15 - $20 million. And of all these claims, the insured truck driver has been reimbursed for precisely one claim, for a “mere” $1,286.63.
Meanwhile, this poor guy’s premium is now over $200,000 per month.
As the title suggests, I think this sounds like an obvious lawsuit in the making. Whether it’s a lawsuit brought by Geico over fraudulent claims, or by the insured over Geico’s failure to adequately cover him, remains to be seen. But it’s gonna be a mess. Whatever the nature of the suit, though, I hope it goes to trial, because the witness testimony would be wildly entertaining to watch.
You can read Geico’s most recent claim rejection letter and judge the merits of the situation for yourself.
I (Heart) My Public Defender
Thank God for Legal Aid lawyers — underpaid “urban superheroes.” Hard-working, highly educated attorneys who spend their days schlepping to court in Target suits to take on hopeless cases that all the other lawyers have eschewed for corporate gigs, 2200 billable hours, and $200K.
But, they’re not all that great. Take Peter Barta, for instance. A “nerdy” legal aid lawyer (and Georgetown alumni) who apparently thinks legal-aid chicks are hot (he’s right! — and, c’mon Lat: Where’s your Legal Aid Hotties contest?), so much so that he set up video cameras disguised as clocks, which he installed in his colleagues’ offices, hoping to catch them changing clothes. And he succeeded at least once, getting a nifty little shot of one of his co-worker’s breasts and buttocks.
Poor Barta, however, was eventually arrested after his co-workers caught on and set up their own surveillance camera to catch him in the act of removing his spy cameras. And now the man is facing unlawful surveillances charges and up to four years in prison.
But the best part about this case comes from Barta’s lawyer, who — in seeking a plea deal — offered up this justification: It was a “gesture of respect to all his former colleagues.”
A gesture of respect!? Dude, wearing Jackie Robinson’s number on your baseball uniform is a gesture of respect. Saluting a superior officer in the military is a gesture of respect. Bowing down to an elder is a gesture of respect. Jerking it while watching your female colleague change out of her “Will Litigate for Food” novelty T-shirt ain’t a gesture of respect. It’s called voyeurism.
Make Like a Tree and … Oh, Fuck It
Over the weekend, a man walked into a Citizen’s Bank branch in Manchester, NH and robbed the place. He was dressed as a tree. And while James Coldwell had no weapon, the teller handed the man an undisclosed amount of cash.
Lemmie get this straight: She gave the man with tree branches duct-taped to his head a handful of money. Because trees are scary? Because she actually thought it was a talking tree? Because she really thought the tree needed cash?
But, more importantly, the award for worst pun in this case goes to Sgt. Ernie Goodno, one of the investigation officers who offered up this jewel: “He really went out on a limb.”
Mr. Goodno, for that outstanding effort, you win the deafening groan of the entire QuizLaw readership.
The Daily Memo - 7/9/07
Dustin Hoffman is planning to direct, produce, co-write and star in an adaptation of Scott Turrow’s Personal Injuries. (Cinematical)
Three passengers are suing the tuberculosis lawyer, even though they haven’t appeard to catch anything from the man they shared a flight with. (Overlawyered)
How the Supremes are spending their summer vacations. (Law.com)
Blawg Review #116 is bringing the mustard. (Corporate Blawg UK)
Oil companies are being sued by drivers in seven states over “hot fuel,” which is expanded gasoline due to summer heat (which gives less energy/gallon than cooler gasoline). (USA Today)
The Ninth Circuit has ruled that warrantless monitoring of the internet, to track IP addresses and e-mail headers, is ok because it’s similar to warrantless phone surveillance that figures out what numbers are being called. (SF Gate and Concurring Opinions)
Some people have no sense of humor … cuz’ they’re black.
Ahhh, I remember my good old high school years. I hung out with the cool kids, dated a cheerleader, and played the odd prank. One year in summer school I lit a smoke ball leftover from the 4th of July and rolled it to the back of the class room. Good times. You know what the teacher did? Well he certainly didn’t punch me in the face, that’s what he didn’t do.
Vo-tech administrator Ronald L. Barrett lashed out at a student who attempted the old “titty twister” on Barrett, “bombarding” the student about the shoulders with punches in what he called a kneejerk reaction. I guess the kid was lucky he didn’t give him an Atomic Wedgie. The guy probably would have stabbed him in the eye with a spork.
Consequently, Barrett was placed on unpaid leave for a week after the event. In a litigious twist, Barrett is now in negotiations with the school for denying him unemployment benefits.The school’s reason for denying the benefits? The obvious aforementioned discipline issue. Why does Barrett think he is being denied? Ohhhh, come on … take a guess.
Now Barrett says the school is trying to keep him from collecting unemployment benefits because of the charge against him, and he believes he is being discriminated against because he is black.
Was that your head exploding or mine?
Do the folks in South Carolina know what the people representing them are actually doing with their time?
This video is an enlightening looking into one small facet of Representative Robert Ingersol’s (R-SC) home life. Some may find it shocking. Others, not so much.
(While it should go without saying, I know better at this point. So yes, this is obviously a gag from The Onion.)
This job stinks!
Last week, Susan McBride filed a federal lawsuit in Detroit, claiming that her work environment is not conducive to her ability to do good work and that, in fact, it violates the American with Disabilities Act. Specifically, McBride is taking umbrage with the perfume being worn by a fellow employee of the city’s planning department. McBride says she’s very sensitive to perfumes and that this co-worker’s scent is gumming up the works.
The co-worker in question was also using a plug-in scented deodorizer and McBride claims that the smell of that combined with the perfume actually forced her to leave sick. And while the co-worker has acquiesced to McBride’s request to stop using the deodorizer, she is still wearing her vile, vile perfume.
McBride’s lawsuit wants a ban on smells at work and, of course, an unspecified amount of damages. And she might get some cash, too, as Nota Bene points out that a similar case led to a $10.6 million jury verdict.
Looks like we’re going to have to start checking ID…
Turns out that QuizLaw is rated NC-17. Mingle2 has a little web page called “What’s My Blog Rated?, which has some code that scans a blog’s frontpage and grants it an MPAA rating. And wouldn’t you know it, QuizLaw is so inappropriate that those under 18 shouldn’t read the site, even if they’ve got parental permission.
The more interesting thing here, of course, is looking at how “What’s My Blog Rated” comes up with its results. It’s tied to the number of times various words show up, and here’s what got us in trouble:
crack (appearing 8 times), sex (appearing 7 times), porn (appearing 5 times), anal (appearing 4 times), gun (appearing twice) and abortion (appearing once)
So there you go - sex, drugs, violence and abortion. That’s what they’re calling inappropriate for kids these days.
(Hat tip to idealawg, who seems surprisingly unsurprised at our naughty rating.)
Giuliani — He’s Got Balls!
I dunno folks. Maybe, after this campaign ad — part Denis Leary rant/ part Donal Logue Taxi Driver diatribe — I might just have to lean towards Rudy. “If you gotta stick a plunger up somebody’s ass to reduce crime, then you stick a plunger up somebody’s ass.” Right? Right?!
I hate his politics and he’s kind of a dick, but, hey, “he’s got balls.” And, apparently, that’s what this country looks for in a president. Large testicles. You wait — the first man with testicular elephantitis to run for President will win by a landslide. Ugh. The video, however, is pretty amusing.
Sue ‘Em All — Let God Sort Out the Rest
You know, more times than not, we write about the absurdity of huge tort cases — people suing for $60 million because the dry cleaners lost their pants, because they didn’t win the lottery, or because Starbucks dropped a little coffee on their wittle toesies.
But then I saw a story this morning, and even though a lawsuit hasn’t been filed yet (there will be one — believe you me, there will be one), all I could think was: Sue the bastards. I don’t care for how much: $50 million. $300 million. $1 billion. And sue everyone within sight — I don’t care how tenuous their connection is to the eventual case. Sue the guy down the street for walking by at the wrong time. Sue the parishioner for not praying enough. Sue the freakin’ sky for looking so smug and blue. Just write up a bunch of legal complaints and start handing them out to random passersbys. Somebody needs to get sued.
Here’s the story, from Findlaw:
A six-year-old girl has been hospitalized after a horrifying accident at a swimming pool, when she sat on an open drain and a powerful suction pump tore out part of her intestinal tract.
Abigail Taylor was injured in the wading pool on June 29, according to her family.
Her father, Scott Taylor, told WCCO-TV that the suction caused a 2-inch (5-centimeter) tear in Abigail’s rectum and pulled out much of her small intestine. Doctors had to remove the part of her intestines that remained, according to the family’s lawyer, Bob Bennett.
Abigail remained in intensive care at Children’s Hospital on Thursday and appears to be doing better, Bennett said.
She was to undergo surgery on Friday, Bennett said. “She’ll receive her nutrition through a port for the rest of her life,” he said.
Jesus. You see what I mean, right? That poor goddamn girl. Add swimming pools to the ever-expanding list of places my children will never be allowed to visit.
The Daily Memo - 7/6/07
A lawsuit over virtual sex toys that appear in Second Life has been filed by a man who’s dubbed himself “an erotic Geppetto.” (TBO.com)
Apple has two more lawsuits to contend with, this time involving different copyright infringement claims. (Engadget)
Toronto is considering a sidewalk tax which would require bars and club owners to pay for the right to have folks queue up on the sidewalks. (CityNews)
Several middle-school students have been charged with blackmail after getting another kid (whose dad owned a local night club) to fork over about $35,000! (Live5News)
Who knew it was felony theft to change the price on a plasma TV to $4.88? (SFGate)
Completing the Friday Morning Sex Story Trifecta…
Last Friday, sixteen Tennessee drivers showed up to court to deal with their respective traffic tickets. Charges were dropped against all sixteen of them because the officer who wrote the tickets, Highway Patrol trooper James Randy Moss, did not show up to court. The reason he didn’t show up to court is that he had resigned from the Highway Patrol. And the reason he resigned is why we’re able to round out our trio of sex stories.
Seems that Patrolman Moss had pulled over a Ms. Justis Richert for speeding, issuing her a $159 ticket. However, Ms. Richert just so happens to be a porn star (but in my favorite part of this story - the name “Justis” is not her porn name, as she goes by the classier “Barbie Cummings” when doing her, uhrm, business). So she offered to give Patrolman Moss a hummer to get out of her ticket. He took her up on the offer, even taking photos and videos of her performance, but then gave her a ticket anyway. Class act. He did cut her a break on some drug possession charges, however, deciding to simply toss her “happy pills” into some nearby brush.
Richert/Cummings wrote about all this on her blog, which must’ve caught the attention of the right folks, as this publication is what led to Moss’ resignation. Prosecutors are now planning to charge him with official misconduct and tampering with evidence, plus 25 other traffic stops made by Moss are now being investigated after other ladies came forward with misconduct complaints.
But the kicker of the story is this - Richert/Cummings didn’t bother to show up to the court hearing for her ticket, so while 16 others got off (pun intended?) because of her shenanigans and blog, she didn’t, and she’s still gotta pay the $159 fine!
It derives from the Old French for the Cuckoo bird, “cocu.”
As much as I love this morning’s “carrots and crack” story, I think I love this one even more. A cop in Pueblo, Colorado has filed a lawsuit over being fired for allegedly improper reasons. Former Sergeant Michael Bethel “claims that he was fired because he and his wife engage in a ‘cuckold’ sexual relationship.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, Wikipedia succinctly explains it: “A cuckold is a married man whose wife has sex with other men.”
Yup - Michael and his wife Tammy have been married for 20 years, and for the past 10 years they’ve agreed to this setup: Tammy has been allowed to have sex with whoever she wants (as long as they’re not married or underage), but Michael has no similar free-range permissions whatsoever (although he sometimes jumps into one of his wife’s trysts). Where things get complicated, and how Bethel’s police station found out about this arrangement, is because Bethel would sometimes record the trysts.
So in September 2005, Bethel responded to a call at an apartment building, where he was to supervise a 23-year-old gal who was removing her belongings from the apartment of her ex-boyfriend, Jamarlon Keys. Bethel left his notebook at the apartment, so he returned the next day to get it. He must’ve gotten to talking about this cuckold business with Keys, because Keys said that Bethel’s wife was welcome to come by “anytime she wished.” So the Bethels stopped by a few weeks later and and Michael videotaped the little sexual encounter.
A month later, the cops arrested Key’s ex-girlfriend for burglarizing Keys’ apartment and, wouldn’t you know it, among the stolen items was a certain video tape. Keys claims that Bethel actually came to him and tried to get him to drop the charges or not testify, so that the tape wouldn’t be seen by the DA, although Bethel denies this. However, Bethel and his wife did have a conversation with Keys where they said they didn’t care about anyone seeing the tape, and we know this because the cops secretly recorded the conversation.
So now we’re in June 2006, and Bethel gets fired from his police department. A few days later, he’s smacked with felony charges of witness tampering and official misconduct. The tampering charge is eventually tossed out of court because the judge says that Keys isn’t actually a witness, but the victim of the crime in question (i.e., it was tossed out on a technicality). The misconduct charge went to trial, but the jury gave Bethel a not-guilty verdict.
And so, that brings us back to the present, where Bethel has filed a federal lawsuit against his former police station, claiming wrongful termination.
Seriously people, I don’t know how many times one can say this. Don’t videotape your sexual encounters. It may be fun, sure, but more often than not, if comes back to bite you. And not the good kind of biting.
“A bizarre sexual rendezvous involving carrots and crack cocaine has led to three arrests.”
That lead from the Daily News Tribune article have your attention?
I thought it might.
So it seems that one Brendan O’Neill met a dude at a bar and made arrangements to buy some crack cocaine and watch the dude and two gals shower back at O’Neill’s home (and use carrots as sex toys). O’Neill bought the crack from them, and the three would-be then used the crack, only to learn that O’Neill didn’t have money to cover the $150 check he gave them for the crack.
Yessir, he paid for the crack by check.
So the threesome took O’Neill’s laptop as collateral and rolled on out. O’Neill did the next logical thing, and called the cops. The cops found the threesome and arrested them. While O’Neill hasn’t been arrested yet, the cops said they’re planning to seek charges.
So the moral of this story is simply that you shouldn’t pay for your crack by check.
…That is the moral, right? Or did I miss the point of it all?
She’s No Obama Girl …
Many of you may remember Obama Girl, who expressed her undying love for Barack Obama via song. Well now Hillary has her own doting admirer, and this one is a real-life “American Idol” cast-off and the face of Verizon V-Cast. And she’s got a crush on Hillary. It’s not as catchy as the Obama predecessor, but you’ve got to admit, it’s better than Hillary’s current campaign song.
Will Production Halt on Anal Camera 20?
That’s the question that’s buzzing through the entire porn industry today: Will Syvette Wimberly’s legal woes put an end to the lucrative Anal Camera franchise? Will she be forced to retire in her prime? And, more importantly, do the movies actually involve inserting cameras into sphincters? Cause that’s not … well … damn … ouch!
The story: 25-year-old porn star Syvette Wimberly is being sued by a former high-school classmate who claims that Syvette — real name Lara Madden — stole her cognomen and is using it as her stage-name. Indeed, Kristen Syvette Wimberly claims that she and Madden had a falling out in high school and failed to keep up, apparently, on classmates.com or Myspace. So Kristen was a wee bit surprised to learn that Madden was an X-rated porn star using her name in such movies as Anal Camera 19, Craving Big Cocks 5, and Cum Hither. According to the real Wimberly’s complaint, obtained by The Smoking Gun, Madden stole her name despite knowing it would cause “extreme embarrassment and unsubstantiated association with the pornography industry and other consequences.” She is suing for emotional damages.
Of course, had Kristen just let it go, no one in the world, besides skeevy men with a fascination with anal cameras, would’ve ever known about this. Now, of course, The Smoking Gun does — and that means, Kristen, you’ve just exposed the association to a few more million folks. Way to go!
The Daily Memo - 7/5/07
A 27-year-old Columbia University student is suing the school because he got an F on an exam when he skipped it to go see is ill grandparents. (UPI)
Well this is just a sad story, on many levels, about a now-dead old dude and all the trouble caused by rabble-rousing over the $2 million he made in oil investments. (The Houston Chronicle)
The father of a boy who died from taking a lightening bolt to the chest is suing his son’s high school, claiming the school didn’t take adequate precautions. (Local6)
An obscure Ohio law is still in effect today, and it says that nobody can be arrested on the Fourth of July, nor on a Sunday, except for a few things like treason or breach of the peace. (Mount Vernon News)
A new Missouri law allows folks “to fatally shoot intruders without fear of prosecution or lawsuits.” (STLtoday)
Senator Arlen Specter has introduced legislation that looks to limit Bush’s signing statements. (The Raw Story)
Charges are pending against a woman who drove her car into a parked patrol car while she was busy text messaging (and also, possibly, impaired). (AZ Central)
The least shocking lawsuit in the history of lawsuits
As reported over at the Lawinfo Weblog, “A former sales representative for Mantra Films Inc. and Girls Gone Wild has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the two companies, their founder, Joe Francis, and another individual.” I mean, is anyone shocked that folks who work at these companies might not treat their female employees with the proper amount of respect?
Tranae Hammond’s lawsuit claims that one of her supervisors sexually harassed her, touching and massaging her shoulders and arms, often talking about sex in front of her, and at least once tapping her rump with a clipboard. She also claims that she was canned after reporting these incidents. Francis isn’t personally accused of any harassing shenanigans, which is a good thing for him, as he’s still sitting in the clink in Nevada.
So you think you can be a naturalized citizen?
Among other things, folks who want to become naturalized citizens must take a civics test which contains a handful of questions culled from a larger pool (all of which are given to the applicant ahead of time). MSNBC has “picked some of the more difficult ones,” so go see how many you get right to find out whether you deserve to be a citizen.
I’m happy to say that I passed, although I did get two questions wrong – I’m ok with getting the one about an INS form wrong, but I had no business getting any of the others wrong, so that second one bums me out a little.
Ham Terror Alert Level: Green
Lewiston School Superintendent Leon Levesque is suing Fox News for running a story which featured, he states, “…irresponsible reporting by Fox News Channel”. Ummm, he was expecting hard hitting and well researched material presented objectively?
Excuse me for a second…
Apparently, some students threw what appeared to be a ham bone onto a table populated with Somali students. As we all know, Muslims consider pork to be unclean. The show Fox and Friends cited a website parody of the events as fact on an April 23rd broadcast, and this is where Levesque drew the line:
It appears to me that Fox News acted in a grossly irresponsible way and took some information that was really not very plausible, did not do any substantial fact-checking, and put it out as hard news, Kubetz (attorney for Levesque) said.
Don’t hate the player, Levesque, hate the game. West Sai-yeeeed!.
Following up on the Libby Mess
As you know, earlier this week Bush stirred up quite a pot of trouble when he commuted Scooter Libby’s 30 month prison sentence. Now on one side of the coin, there’s no question that he has the power to do this, as it’s explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. And there may be some merit to the argument that other first time offenders found guilty of perjury rarely see much, if any, prison time (we have to remember that Libby wasn’t found guilty of actually leaking Valerie Plame’s CIA status, or any of the other crimes related to that incident). Alan Dershowitz even makes the interesting argument that it’s the appeals court which is really the bad guy here (he says that, yes, Bush acted politically but, right or wrong on the merits, Bush had the political authority to do so - the court, however, also acted politically, “but that was entirely improper, because judges are not allowed to act politically”). All that being said, there is still something I do have a problem with regarding Bush’s action, and that’s the utter hypocrisy of the whole thing.
As explained over at Slate, “what’s astonishing is that the factors Bush relied on in commuting Libby’s sentence are the same ones that the administration has aggressively sought to preclude judges from considering when imposing sentences on everyone else.” In other words, Bush’s decision to commute Libby’s sentence goes against his own sentencing policy, as he and his administration have consistently argued that judges should never consider a criminal defendant’s particular situation when sentences are handed down, and should instead focus almost exclusively on the federal sentencing guidelines. And Bush’s hypocrisy is made worse by the fact that he’s never before pardoned anyone or issued any sentence commutation (at least while President, although I’m pretty sure he never did so while Governor of Texas either). Are we really to believe that Libby’s jail sentence was the most patently unfair sentence to come across Bush’s desk in all that time? That no other sentence was possibly deserving of a commutation or pardon? This type of hypocrisy coming from Bush is no longer a surprise, but it’s certainly the latest sign of how corrupt this administration is.
Of course, on top of the issue of how hypocritical this is, there’s also this question - while it was legal for Bush to commute Libby’s sentence, was it really ethical for him to do so, considering the close relationship between Libby and Bush and his administration? The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers (D-MI), sees some problems with this as well, arguing that the clemency may have been an abuse of power requiring congressional oversight: “Taken to its extreme, the use of such authority could completely circumvent the law enforcement process and prevent credible efforts to investigate wrongdoing in the executive branch.” With that being said, a hearing has been set for next Wednesday morning (July 11), where the Committee will look into this whole mess.
Oh, and get this. It turns out that Bush’s action may have had an unintended consequence - it now seems that Libby’s two years of “supervised release” may go out the window too. The original judge who sentenced Libby has asked both parties to file briefs on this issue by next Monday. The issue? As Judge Walton put it in his order:
Strictly construed, the statute authorizing the imposition of supervised release indicates that such release should occur only after the defendant has already served a term of imprisonment….It is therefore unclear how [the statute] should be interpreted in unusual circumstances such as these.
In other words, because Libby won’t serve any prison time, there’s an argument that the supervised release that comes after imprisonment just doesn’t apply. How do you like that?
And if you like that, you’ll love this. A footnote in that same order has suggested that one or both parties might want to get clarification from the White House as to what the President’s position is on this issue? Gee, I wonder what Bush would have to say about this?
Although I’m already sick of the campaigning for the next presidential election, the damn thing can’t get here soon enough.
“It’s the fixed ballgame and the rigged casino and the pre-arranged lottery all rolled into one—and it stinks.”
On last night’s episode of “Countdown,” Keith Olbermann issued his latest Special Comment, spurred by Bush’s Monday commutation of Scotter Libby’s jail sentence. Olbermann basically says that Bush and Cheney should follow the patriotism Nixon showed when he finally resigned from office, by doing the same. You can read the transcript of his special comment over at MSNBC, they’ve got the video clip for you there, too (when the clip shows up on YouTube, I’ll try to update this entry and embed it for you, ‘cause I’m just that kind of guy).
And with that, the QuizLaw crew is taking the rest of the 4th off. So enjoy the holiday and the barbecues and the fireworks and whatever you’ve got going on, and we’ll see ya tomorrow.
Update: Here’s the video clip for you, if you’re too lazy to click on the above link:
Is that an Adam’s Apple, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
A bouncer at a popular restaurant in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood ejected a … customer from the women’s bathroom … because she looked too masculine, the woman said Monday.
[The woman] said she was using the women’s bathroom when a male bouncer burst in and banged on the stall door, saying a customer had complained that there was a man in the women’s room.
“I said, ‘I am a woman and I am where I am supposed to be,’” said [the woman] speaking at a news conference. “I offered to show him some identification. I was told that’s neither here nor there.” …
“I’m just hurt that even my wanting to prove that I’m female wasn’t enough.”
The woman, who is demanding the the restaurant’s staff not discriminate based upon gender identity, is pictured below.
… Sorry — it was just too easy.
What’s the adage about a lawyer who represents himself?
Stephen Dunne is representing himself in a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. His federal lawsuit claims that the bar exam has violated his rights to freedom of religion, due process and equal protection. You see, there was a question about family law which Dunne took offense to because the parents in the question were a married gay couple. And because Dunne doesn’t approve of such a filthy thing, he decided not to answer the question.
And of course, when he failed the exam, he ran off to court. Mr. Dunne, non-Esq., wants injunctions against the Board, prohibiting them from including such vile questions on future exams, and to not consider his failure to answer the question in reviewing his application for admission. He says the problem with this question is that it requires him to “affirmatively accept, support and promote homosexual marriage and homosexual parenting.”
…This is wholly preposterous. The question doesn’t make him accept and promote gay marriage. Rather, it is saying “analyze the question within the bounds of the law.” It doesn’t matter how he feels personally about the issues. If there was a question about state abortion laws, it doesn’t matter whether I’m pro-choice or pro-life - as a budding lawyer, I have to answer the questions within the confines of the law because, if I’m to become a lawyer, I have to - you know - obey all the laws and stuff and work within them. Regardless of my personal feelings. I mean, under this rationale, if I were a more serious practicing Jew than I am and there was a question about working on the Sabbath, could I complain because the question requires me to accept the notion of working and using electricity on the Sabbath? Of course not.
Mr. Dunne, in answer to that adage, you have a fool for a client.
The Daily Memo - 7/3/07
The Mayor’s Office in NYC is actually considering an idiotic law that would require amateur photographers and filmmakers to get a permit and insurance before photographing or filming on any city property (and this includes sidewalks). (The New York Times)
Al Davis must be rolling in his grave, as his twenty-year litigation against the NFL has (finally) been put to rest by the California Supremes. (ESPN)
A set of 10-year-old quintuplets are stuck in the middle of a custody battle that centers largely on the mother trying to impose a strict vegan diet on them. (TampaBay.com)
Ohio’s prison system has been sued by the mother of a man who was executed in 2006 because his execution took almost 90 minutes, instead of the usual 20 minutes. (CNN)
“What the school cases mean for the workplace.” (SCOTUSblog)
In Arizona, all public classrooms from grade seven through college must now display a US flag and copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, (AZcentral)
A Vegas doctor and his wife have been charged with using unapproved Botox without telling their patients that they were getting a face full of experimental toxin. (Yahoo! News)
George W. Bush: Patriot
President Bush spared I. Lewis Libby Jr. from prison Monday, commuting his two-and-a-half-year sentence while leaving intact his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the C.I.A. leak case.
In his lengthy statement about the commutation the current President Bush praised Mr. Fitzgerald as a “highly qualified, professional prosecutor who carried out his responsibilities as charged.”
But he said: “My decision to commute his prison sentence leaves in place a harsh punishment for Mr. Libby. The reputation he gained through his years of public service and professional work in the legal community is forever damaged. His wife and young children have also suffered immensely.”
He continued: “And more importantly, heh heh, it means that the Libster’s appeal will march on, and that he can continue to plead the 5th, heh heh. He cain’t say shit, heh heh. By the time them’s appeals are exhausted, Cheney’ll be dead. Smart, huh? I saw it on an episode of “Matlock.” What do you think of that, Daaad? Just keep wavin’ at the camera, Pops. You see this logo on my shirt? It says USA. You know what that means, right? It means, ‘Fuck You, America.’ What are you gonna do about it, huh? Huh? Yeah — that’s what I thought. You’re gonna grill some burgers and watch some fireworks and forget all about it. By Thursday, we’ll be dropping nukes on Lithuania. For shits and giggles. And you won’t remember a thing. Game. Set. Point. Touchdown. Triple. Whatever. Heh heh.”
This is why the British are better than us
A great number of states have now enacted bans against smoking in bars. Those who like to damage their lungs while also damaging their livers hate these bans, of course, and many bar owners themselves would rather not be forced to prohibit smoking. Yet the vast majority of the bar owners take these laws sitting down. Well a similar ban goes into effect in England this week, but one pub is most decidedly not letting things just happen.
Bob Beech is trying to have his pub, the Welling Arms, declared to be on “foreign soil,” thereby exempting it from the cigarette ban (and also exempting it from the British VAT tax, meaning he could serve cheaper drinks!). Earlier this month, he got his pub named as the official British consulate for Redonda, a teeny-tiny little Caribbean island a bit south of Antigua (and we’re talking real tiny, like one mile square tiny). Now he wants to upgrade the pub’s status to a full-fledged embassy, which would mean it is “foreign soil” for the purpose of British laws.
If Beech is successful, this would make his pub the only one in all of Britain where folks could burn a “fag” while enjoying an ale. However, a spokesman for the Foreign Office says that Redonda isn’t a separate country, but is simply territory belonging to Antigua and Barbuda, meaning it’s not entitled to an embassy. So it seems that Beech may have his work cut out for him. But you just have to applaud his intent and ingenuity.
And as a bonus to this story, check out this little bit about the current “King of Redonda:”
The title of “King of Redonda” is hotly disputed, with at least nine known claimants, but the current ruler is King Robert the Bald, who was crowned in 1998 and lives on Antigua.
The 60-year-old Canadian, whose real name is Bob Williamson, writes novels at his Antigua home from where he sails his 72ft yacht St Peter.
On May 31, 1998 Mr Williamson sailed to Redonda with Mr Elder and 60 others and was formally declared to be King Robert the Bald.
King Robert the Bald? That rules (no pun intended).
“I Want to Defy / The Logic of All Sex Laws”
You wanna make a quick buck! Is your wallet aching for a little green? Are your pockets screaming for for some cold, hard cash? Tired of spending hours a day filling out online surveys for pennies? Hate the prospect of earning $9 an hour to “save the environment?” Well, have I got a scam for you. An easy three-step process that any married man can pull off.
First, make sure your marriage is a sham — a loveless, useless marriage of convenience. Second, tell your wife you want to “spice up” your marriage by having her sleep with random men and women (you can even watch!). And finally, wait until your wife falls in love with one of the men you’ve asked her to sleep with. Then: Bam! Sue the bastard for alienation of affection.
At least that’s what one Illinois man has done. Arthur Friedman (above, with his wife) used a little-known law (only available in eight states) to sue her wife’s lover, German Blinov (pictured on the inset). And guess what? He won! Nearly $5,000.
Arthur Friedman denies he had sex with anyone else, though Natalie Friedman described their trysts in detail — including four-way sex in a hot tub with Blinov and another woman.
“That’s what he said would keep our marriage going,” she said in an interview. “That was exciting to him. Then he cries about losing his love? When I’m having sex with another person?”
Dude got to have four-way sex in a hot tub and win $5,000? Those aren’t sad tears, lady. Those are happy tears.
Up in New Hampshire, where the state motto is “Get off my goddamn lawn you little punk,” a man has decided that the best way to avoid more speeding tickets is to sue the state and compel it to raise the speed limits.
Larry Lemay, who has been ticketed four times for speeding in the last year, is suing, claiming that speed limits are set intentionally low as a means to collect revenue. “The state is making a lot of money doing this, and I want it stopped,” he said. “It’s wrong.” Lemay is also insisting that the state pay his speeding fines, which amount to over $1800.
Meanwhile in the state of Washington, a woman is attempting to sue her state, claiming that the legal blood alcohol limit is set arbitrarily low. She asserts that the BAC limit ought to be set by one’s individual liver. “If my shchliver shays I can driver, then beep beep. Get outta my way, duckies. I gotta take a leak.” Unfortunately, the woman passed out in a puddle of her own vomit on the courthouse steps before she could file her suit.
Hat tip: Overlawyered.
The Daily Memo - 7/2/07
USA Today’s got a list of some of the new state laws that went into effect yesterday, but where’s the yummy pie-chart goodness? (USA Today)
Well that’s disappointing - crazy NASA astronaut’s attorney says she wasn’t actually wearing diapers during her little road trip. (CNN)
Blawg Review #115 is coming! Blawg Review #115 is coming! (Nearly Legal)
Avvo (the lawyer-rating site) has responded to the lawsuit against it by filing a motion to dismiss, calling the suit nothing but a censorship attempt. (WSJ Law Blog)
Sorry Representative Valazquez, but I think that the webcaster royalty mess will only be resolved if Congress steps in. (The Holllywood Reporter, Esq.)
The always fun nexus of rape, abortion and religion has moved into Connecticut hospitals. (NewsTimesLive)
This old news by now, but if you missed it, the Supremes backtracked on an earlier decision and have now decided to hear a case (in October, when their next term starts) about whether the Gitmo detainees can appeal to the civil courts. (FindLaw)
And speaking of Gitmo, a military judge down there refused to reconsider the ruling from a few weeks ago that military commissions don’t have jurisdiction over detainees who haven’t been deemed “unlawful enemy combatants.” (SCOTUSblog)
Just another drug story
Steve Santhuff once tried to do a good deed and help out some local authorities. Worried about the rampant black market for marijuana plants in his community, he elected to go undercover and pay $400 for some plants from a guy who turned out to work at a state drug agency. He told the feds and the state attorney general about his purchase but, instead of using this information to bust open the rampant corruption, the state and feds used it to get a warrant to search Santhuff’s home. They then stormed in and seized about 500 marijuana plants from his home. This has led to a criminal prosecution focused primarily on where and how Santhuff got his pot plants.
The thing is, I lied. This wasn’t all about pot plants.
Yes, he spent the $400 to illegally buy a turtle from an officer of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and it was this state agency, along with the US Fish and Wildlife Services, that raided Santhuff’s home and seized 500 turtles. Santhuff has now sued these agencies in two separate lawsuits - a federal civil rights suit against the Fish and Wildlife Service (seeking $1 million for the agency’s alleged unlawful search and seizure) and a state lawsuit against the Georgia agency (seeking the return of his turtles). But these trials have been put on hold, while the criminal trial, which has been going on for three years, continues.
And as for those wheres and hows, Santhuff says he had permits from every state where he got the turtles, except for those turtles he got before they were protected.
However, he could not offer any explanation as to why he also had Myrtle the Turtle caged up in his living room.
As if I need to explain why Oregon is better than Florida
Last week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Daytona Beach zoning and nudity ordinances which require exotic dancers in the city to wear bikinis. And we’re talking beach-wear type bikinis, not g-strings and pasties. The only exception to these ordinances is where the club doesn’t serve liquor. But a strip club without liquor is like a forest without a tree - it just don’t make sense. Anyway, this decision overturned a District Court ruling from last year which found the ordinances unconstitutional as violations of free speech. Lollipops Gentlemen’s Club plans to appeal to the Supremes.
Meanwhile, an Oregon judge has ruled against an ordinance in Salem, Oregon which banned touching at strip clubs. The Court ruled that the Constitution’s protection of free speech protects a stripper’s right to give lap dances. Now that’s how rulings about strippers and the First Amendment are supposed to play out. You paying attention, Eleventh Circuit?