WASHINGTON, November 23, 2014 — Laws exist to maintain public order, and to define the limits of conduct. Early societies recognized they needed order, as without laws — well, all hell could break loose.
Here are some of the best examples of why laws are necessary. Pardon that some who seek to apply them can be very off.
Her boyfriend was drunk last month, allegedly “came after her” and threatened to harm her pet turtle. So Marie Seymour, 53, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, stabbed him.
Marie is facing charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and up to 15 years in prison. The boyfriend may not testify, as he does not want Marie prosecuted. Perhaps he just does not want to feed the turtle?
“Defense of others” is a recognized basis to use harm, if the others are in imminent danger. No state, not even Florida, provides for an excuse titled “defense of turtles.”
Another Florida matter involving an animal, from September, resulted in a criminal sentencing to two counts of felony cruelty to animals. James Bull, 62, had his 8-month old emaciated pit-bull chained to a post on his front porch, with about 8 inches of free reign, no water, no shelter and no food.
He was arrested after several neighbors, hearing cries and yelps from the dog, called police with descriptions of Bull “fondling the dog’s private parts” and “having sex with the dog.”
Perhaps the name of the dog’s breed, pit-bull, gave James Bull the impression the dog, a female, was his wife and he thought sex was okay.
In yet another Florida criminal “what?”, court records from September, in Palm Beach reveal that a man accused of killing his roommate used his iPhone to ask Siri how to hide the dead body.
Siri responded to Pedro Bravo’s request with suggestions of “swamps, reservoirs, metal foundries, and dumps.”
Evidence rules will not allow Siri’s “testimony” to be used against Bravo for the purpose of proving his guilt.
“You Sunk My Battleship” has been uttered millions of times by those playing the perennially popular board game.
John Valenzuela, 68, of Utah County, Utah, felt actions were needed to avenge his sunken fleet. When his ships went down last month, he pulled a loaded rifle on his conqueror, his 17-year-old daughter.
She called 911, and despite not being able to speak because dad was there, the authorities pinged the call and arrived in time to rescue her. Dad is being charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief, intoxication and unlawful detention; he faces up to five years in prison and is currently in jail, unable to post bond.
Yet another reason to ban guns.
Billy McCall did not know he had a child until about one week after the child’s birth. The mother decided about a month before the child was born to give up her rights, and she made arrangements for the child to be adopted. She was required to notify Billy of her intent.
She did so via Facebook. Oklahoma’s highest court has now ruled that this method of notification was not sufficient.
Justice Combs said Facebook is “an unreliable method of communication.”
What happened to the telephone, or maybe a nice note with blue and pink ribbons?
Karen Holloway did not cut her grass. This riled some at City Hall. Lenoir City, Tennessee officials took her to task last month for not maintaining the lawn to the level required by city ordinances. After an appeal of her 5-day jail sentence, she had to serve six hours in jail.
Jesse Herald, of Shenandoah County, Virginia, has fathered at least seven children with six different women. That may raise some eyebrows, but is not the reason he is serving time. It’s what he did after the kids were born.
Child endangerment is against the law. This past summer, he agreed to a vasectomy to reduce his prison term by up to five years.
Herald must pay for and have the procedure within a year of his release, and he will not be allowed to have it reversed during his probationary term.
This deal, according to both the county prosecutor and Herald’s attorney, had no connection to Virginia’s dark history of forcibly sterilizing about 8000 people deemed “genetically inferior or deficient” from the 1920’s to about 1970.
Ever see a colander — a pasta strainer — on someone’s head? Asia Lemmon, real name Jessica Steinhauser, also known by her former stage name in her porn career as Asia Carrera, wore one for her driver’s license photo in Salt Lake City, Utah recently.
She advised it was a religious statement. Turns out that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an established religion, known as Pastafarianism, and followers are allowed to wear the strainer for license photos as long as their face is not covered.
Next, speaking of apparel, how about a banana suit?
Catherine Conrad performs wearing a full body length banana, and agreed, for a fee, to wear it to a credit union trade association event, upon the condition that no photos be taken except for personal use.
When, you guessed it, photos appeared on Facebook, she sued in Wisconsin state court.
All of her meritless claims were dismissed, except a copyright infringement claim, which was then heard in federal court, because only federal courts can hear copyright cases.
It turns out that Ms. Conrad is somewhat of a professional plaintiff; she has a history of filing meritless civil lawsuits and thus incurring litigation debts.
In dismissing this case, Judge Posner of the 7th Circuit panel commented that the lower court should consider prohibiting Conrad from filing further suits until she pays her litigation debts.
The appellate court also said it had serious doubts about Conrad’s copyright claim. Citing a Google search that turned up similar outfits.
“…Banana costumes quite similar to hers are, we are surprised to discover, a common consumer product,” Posner wrote.
Last Christmas season, first grader Isaiah Martinez went to school and attempted to give all of his classmates candy canes.
So nice, until one considers it wasn’t all about simply giving. The boy’s parents attached a little paper to each cane stating that the white part was “the virgin Birth, the sinless nature of Jesus,” and the red part represented “the blood shed by Jesus on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life, if only we put our faith and trust in Him.”
Merced Elementary School officials in West Covina, California said “no candy.”
Nine months later, Isaiah’s parents sued. Anyone see a separation of church and state issue here, or maybe a First Amendment freedom of speech violation? A court decision is on its way.
In early times the law was not designed to cover every human experience. Yet, here we are. Can we punish someone for reality television?
Paul A. Samakow is an attorney licensed in Maryland and Virginia, and has been practicing since 1980. He represents injury victims and routinely battles insurance companies and big businesses that will not accept full responsibility for the harms and losses they cause. He can be reached at any time by calling 1-866-SAMAKOW (1-866-726-2569), via email, or through his website.
His new book “Who Will Pay My Auto Accident Bills?, The Most Comprehensive Nationwide Auto Accident Resolution Book, Ever” can be reviewed on http://www.completeaccidentbook.com and can be ordered there, or obtained directly on Amazon: Click here to order
Mr. Samakow’s “Don’t Text and Drive” campaign, El Textarudo, has become nationally recognized. Please visit the website http://www.textarudo.com and “like” the concept on the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/textarudo.Click here for reuse options!
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