Dumb and Dumber: Dumb criminals, dumb laws abound

How people blunder into crime in these United States is often so dumb that all we can do is laugh. When we see how dumb our lawmakers can be, we can only cry.

Bearded, inebriated old prospector challenges Alaska state trooper to arrest him. (Still taken from YouTube video)

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2016 — Men in search of a “girlfriend experience” in Manhattan frequently called a South Korean “massage parlor” using their own cell phones to place the calls. At this point, federal authorities have logged over 70,000 names and other identifying information related to this quest. Guess these guys did not know about burner phones and never saw “The Wire” on cable TV.

Buffet wars were brought to new heights in Connecticut. A dispute over crab legs at the buffet escalated to involve assault, disorderly conduct, threats and pepper spray. Two individuals were arrested. A man not even involved in the fracas ended up with a split lip and lost a tooth when he was hit in the face during the donnybrook. It was his mother, by the way, who deployed the pepper spray in an attempt to stop the brawl after her son got hurt.

“Seinfeld” episode on steroids: A man was arrested for keeping a VHS rental somewhat after the date it was due to be returned. Later, in North Carolina, police pulled over a driver whose taillight was broken. A name check soon revealed there was a warrant out for him, for failure to return a VHS tape he rented 14 years previously.

A Salem, Massachusetts, police lieutenant arrested two men who were recorded on surveillance cameras repeatedly switching seats in a car, driver to passenger and back again after being involved in multiple small crashes. Both men were drunk and were charged with multiple vehicular counts and, of course, DUI.

Chivalry is not dead today. It’s just misplaced. A 26-year-old man broke into a Tennessee home claiming he was there to save his wife, singing star Taylor Swift. Police arrested the man for burglary. Swift, despite being in a relationship for about a year now, is still not married, much to the delight of many young men.

If “love” can be in the air (mile high club, anyone?), so can “war.” Not in a locked bathroom but between the aisles and over the seats, five women on a plane flying over Nebraska became heavily engaged in throwing vigorous haymakers at one another. Legal analysts recognized that none of them can be charged for this collective close encounter in Baltimore where the fight originated or in LA where the plane was going to land. It is likely that federal authorities will ultimately place charges.

Meanwhile, love in Houston stopped traffic. Literally. A man on a freeway (Interstate 45), already jammed with furiously honking cars, got down on one knee and proposed marriage to his girlfriend. He now faces criminal charges. No word on how she responded.

A young Anchorage man was only 18. His brain was not fully formed. Scorned by an ex-girlfriend, he went to the school playground and burned a letter from her. He got his friend to help him. They were charged with criminal mischief, failure to control or report a fire and negligent burning. The blaze they ignited caused $20,000 in damages. And some have said Romeo and Juliet were “hot.”

Craigslist is certainly a wide-ranging resource. One Craigslist ad recently sought adoptable children, so the “parent” could then claim them as dependents to secure corresponding tax deductions. Charges against the man running the ad included filing false tax returns. Want to know the most amazing thing about this? The guy got responses from numerous “kids.”

Not so much “criminal” in the legal sense, but certainly criminal intent in the minds of 13 now former employees of a Clermont, Florida, restaurant: They were all fired via a group text message:

We have decided to move on without you. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and all of your hard work.

No individual discussions, no explanations. Modern businesses are increasingly run with greater efficiency.

The word “dumb” doesn’t begin to describe the recent actions of the Columbus, Ohio, videographer. Inhumane and unbelievable would be more suitable adjectives. Upon witnessing the rape-in-progress of a 17-year-old young woman, another young woman commenced to live-stream the ongoing crime on Periscope. Both the “reporter” and the rapist are now in jail and they have been indicted for rape, pandering and a sexually-oriented crime against a minor. They face prison time up to 40 years.

Moving from dumb acts to dumb laws, a quick legal review reveals that in Montana, you can get married by proxy. With the help of an attorney, both bride and groom can replace themselves with “proxies” who will say their vows and sign the marriage license on their behalf.  No requirement here for kissing the bride.

In Kentucky, women are banned from marrying the same man for a fourth time. Clarification probably would not be needed in today’s legal atmosphere if a man tried to marry the same woman a fourth time. Get it?

In New Orleans, if you have (or claim to have) divine powers such as those possessed by fortune-tellers, palm readers or healers, you cannot perform a marriage.

Dumb laws or dumber? In Utah, you cannot hurt whales. Utah is a landlocked state with two states interposed between it and the ocean. To date, no whales have yet been sighted swimming about Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Only algae and brine shrimp.

Do not go to Alabama if you are a bear-wrestling fan. There, state law outlaws promotion, engagement in and employment at a bear-wrestling match. The species of bear involved in the match is not specified in the law. Also absent fis a clarification regarding the status of the second participant in the illegal match; i.e., it’s uncertain here if the law simply bans bear vs. bear matches or, more comprehensively, bear vs. man (or woman) contests. This law also prohibits selling, purchasing, possessing or training a bear for the purposes of wrestling.

Sunday is still officially observed in numerous locales as a religious day or a day of rest. In Virginia, you cannot hunt or kill any wild animal  on Sunday because it is a day of rest for all species of wild bird and animal life. Here’s the head-scratcher. It is okay in Virginia to kill raccoons on Sundays.

There was once a law in Vermont that prohibited tying a giraffe to a telephone pole.

Finally, given this country’s evolving views on human sexuality, it is surprising to encounter laws that restrict adult conduct in this area. Nonetheless, in Michigan, it still remains a felony to “seduce and debauch” an unmarried woman. More to the point, in Mississippi it is illegal to seduce a virgin with a false marriage proposal.


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 book “The 8 Critical Things Your Auto Accident Attorney Won’t Tell You” can be instantly downloaded, for free, on his website: http://www.samakowlaw.com/book.

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