For some reason it seems like I should do something special for Assorted Stupidity #100, even though the number is completely arbitrary and there is certainly no shortage of stupidity out there, especially now. But I don’t want to make that call today, so I’m going to punt and call this one #99.5.
- The Buffalo News reports that police are looking for a serial Cheez-It thief who has struck the same store in Niagara Falls at least three separate times. The first attempt, on Oct. 19, was foiled after a manager saw him loading a shopping cart with Cheez-It boxes, and he fled. But on Nov. 16, he got away with two dozen boxes and four dozen containers of peanuts, and on Dec. 1 he nabbed another three dozen and six dozen respectively. The report contains a fairly lame description of the thief, so I’d just look for a mound of boxes or suspiciously orange fingertips.
- In San Francisco, a federal magistrate judge ordered an attorney to pay $250 in sanctions for throwing a cup of iced coffee at opposing counsel during a deposition. The attorney argued she did not fling the coffee toward her opponent but rather accidentally spilled it on him, which would have been a better argument had a neutral third party not been present whose job it was to record the proceedings, and who failed to back up the story. “There is ample evidence” that the two attorneys routinely “bait each other,” the judge wrote, but only one has thrown coffee (so far).
- Is a drive-by shooting an “accident” for purposes of insurance coverage? Nope. Because it was intentional, which accidents typically aren’t, you see. Bonus points: the appellant, Carl, argued that because the shooting “caught him by surprise,” it was “an ‘accident’ from Carl’s perspective.” I think we can sympathize with Carl and yet agree that’s not what “accident” means.
- A Canadian teacher says he got a $465 ticket last week for having a one-inch crack in the top part of his driver’s license, and he’s not at all happy about it. The Alberta Highway Traffic Act does make it illegal to “mutilate” a license or have such a license in one’s possession, but he very reasonably argues that a crack resulting from just carrying the thing in your wallet isn’t “mutilation.” Police contended they did him a favor, since they could have charged him with careless driving ($543), although they didn’t see him doing that, either.
- Speaking of piling on, North Carolina police recently charged a suspect with escaping from custody—temporarily, of course—and also for stealing the handcuffs he was wearing when he ran off. This has happened before, and I argued then it didn’t qualify as “theft” under Washington law because I didn’t think he had the necessary intent regarding the handcuffs. But this guy’s charged with “larceny,” which is just taking property without permission, so this might be different.
- A victory for the rule of law is no small thing, even if it only involves beating a traffic-camera ticket. “I alluded to Hobbes and Locke. I quoted the Declaration of Independence. I suggested the success of the American experiment was at stake. I resorted to superlatives. You know: all the stuff I teach my law students never to do.” That didn’t work, but getting an officer to perjure himself on the stand did.
- Oh, if you happen to be in the Bay Area tonight, or at least in Oakland, consider dropping by if you have 20 minutes to waste on a presentation by me about property law in space. Details here.