Laws (Odd)

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The Guano Islands Act and So Forth

For Day 2 of my Volokh Conspiracy guest-bloggery, I wrote about the Guano Islands Act and some other old laws that are still on the books in various jurisdictions, often for no good reason. If you are still 1,100 words short of…


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Guest-Blogging at The Volokh Conspiracy

Professor Eugene Volokh (UCLA) kindly asked me if I'd like to guest-blog at The Volokh Conspiracy, which these days is hosted by the Washington Post. I said I would, and so I am. All this week, in fact. Oddly enough, I…


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Bugles Banned From New 49er Stadium [UPDATE]

I do love good examples of stupid/unnecessary/baffling local ordinances, so let us examine the set being proposed by the city of Santa Clara, California, to address all eventualities that may arise at Levi's Stadium (a.k.a. the "Field of Jeans"), currently…


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Win a Copy of The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance

I realize that a mere $18.78 (the current price of my book on Amazon.com) is nothing to somebody like you, and that if you had $18.78 in your hand you'd probably just throw it out in the street rather than…


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Updates on the Video-Rental Crime of the Century

Here are a couple of updates on the saga of Monster-In-Law-video-keeper Kayla Finley. See "Woman Arrested Nine Years After Failing to Return Rented Video," Lowering the Bar (Feb. 17, 2014). First, criminal-defense attorney David Liebow points out that even though South Carolina doesn't have a statute…


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Woman Arrested Nine Years After Failing to Return Rented Video

Kayla Finley made three mistakes.

  • The first one was in 2005 when she rented Monster-In-Law, a movie in which Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda argue about a wedding; it sports a 16% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, and Roger Ebert said he tried to enjoy it but kept being "interrupted by bulletins from my conscious mind, which hated [it]."
  • The second one was failing to return the movie after she finished watching it (assuming she was able to finish watching it).
  • The third and by far the most serious mistake Kayla Finley made was going to a police station in Pickens County, South Carolina, four days ago, to report a crime.

These three mistakes combined led to her arrest and criminal charges for the nine-year-old offense of failing to return a rented video.

Link goes to FOX 21 website

As FOX Carolina reported on Friday, Finley learned that when you interact with the police, for whatever reason, they will likely run a check on you. She may have known that, but was at least surprised to learn that in her case this turned up an outstanding warrant. The video briefly shows the warrant, which was indeed issued in Pickens County in September 2005 for failing to return "1 VIDEO, [NAMELY] MONSTER-IN-LAW…." Finley was definitely surprised to be arrested for this dastardly offense, let alone to be charged almost a decade after the alleged crime. She vowed to fight the charges.

The report calls this incident "crazy," and it is, but not for the reason you might expect.


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Rubber-Duck-Race Bill Expected to Pass in Wisconsin

Well, thanks to the Wisconsin Department of Justice's decision last year to crack down on rubber-duck racing in the village of Mishicot, having concluded said event amounted to illegal gambling, the Wisconsin legislature has had to intervene. The state constitution prohibits…


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Book Update

Thanks to everyone who's bought a copy of The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance since it was published about three weeks ago. It still hasn't technically "launched," because that doesn't happen (according to me) until it gets into wider distribution, which with any…


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The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance!

I am very happy to announce that my project of collecting odd laws, which I creatively referred to as "The Odd Law Project," has now become (or I guess is about to become) my first book: Obviously I changed the…


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North Carolina Considers Abortion/Motorcycle Safety Bill

Hey, there's been an amendment to North Carolina Senate Bill 353 on motorcycle safety. See if you can tell what's changed. Hint: the bill was originally entitled: AN ACT TO INCREASE PENALTIES FOR UNSAFE MOVEMENTS BY DRIVERS THAT THREATEN THE…