Articles Posted in Weird Laws

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There’s no shortage of laws out there that need updating. This Mississippi law, which not only outlaws polygamy, but outlaws even teaching about it, is ripe for tweaking.

SEC. 97-29-43. Polygamy; teaching of.

If any person shall teach another the doctrines, principles, or tenets, or any of them, of polygamy; or shall endeavor so to do; or shall induce or persuade another by words or acts, or otherwise, to embrace or adopt polygamy, or to emigrate to any other state, territory, district, or country for the purpose of embracing, adopting, or practicing polygamy, or shall endeavor so to do, he shall, on conviction, be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or be imprisoned in the county jail not less than one month nor more than six months, or both.

Suggestion: Delete the first clause! Here’s the source.

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The chances that authorities would try to enforce this Massachusetts law? Squadoosh!

Section 36A. Whoever, having arrived at the age of sixteen years, directs any profane, obscene or impure language or slanderous statement at a participant or an official in a sporting event, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars.

Here’s the source.

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The Juice is a personal injury lawyer, not a constitutional scholar. Still, this Alabama law just doesn’t pass the smell test. Judge for yourself.

Section 13A-14-4 – Fraudulently pretending to be clergyman.

Whoever, being in a public place, fraudulently pretends by garb or outward array to be a minister of any religion, or nun, priest, rabbi or other member of the clergy, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500.00 or confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Yeah, good luck with that one. Here’s a link to the actual law. (Click on “Title 13A”, then “Chapter 14″, then “Section 13A-14-4″.)

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It’s time for the Chilean lawmakers to do some housecleaning. As reported by ilovechile.cl:

A recent study by the School of Law of the Universidad Bernardo O’Higgins (UBO), listed several situations sanctioned by the Chilean Criminal Code which may appear a bit… outdated by today’s standards.

Like what?

If you are a woman who has been widowed recently, know that if you choose to rebuild your life and get remarried before 270 days (nine months) after the death of your husband, you can face criminal charges.

Zoinks. Unlikely that one’s enforced.

If you dissatisfied with the current social, economic, or political situation in the country, any decision to “ring the bells of the people” in order to encourage your countrymen to rise against the powers that be will be punished under Article 123.  Remember that this is not just for bells only, but of any other “instrument to excite the people to revolt for that same purpose”, such as speeches or printed manifestos.

A bit chilling, that one. As for dueling …

Article 404 indicates that you must face “imprisonment in its minimum degree” if you challenge your opponent to a duel.

The same penalty will apply if your opponent, in a “fit of cowardice or wisdom”, refuses to participate and you decide to publicly chastise him for his denial.  In addition, those who choose to participate as sponsors of the duelers are also punishable.

So, unless you just say no to a duel, you’re screwed. And finally …

Article 496 of the Penal Code punishes all those who profit from making “premonitions” or interpreting dreams. Although this practice dates back many years, is still very popular.

Here’s the source, which includes a few more outdated laws.

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Do you think these provisions of the Tennessee Constitution might be unconstitutional?

ARTICLE IX
Disqualifications.

Section 1. Whereas ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.

Section 2. No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

Yikes. Here’s the text. (Scroll down to page 553.)

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Surely at one point this law served some purpose – maybe back when people knew what roentgen rays were. But now? It seems unlikely, though RCW 70.98.170 (Prohibition — fluoroscopic x-ray shoefitting devices) is still on the books in Washington. It reads as follows:

The operation or maintenance of any X-ray, fluoroscopic, or other equipment or apparatus employing roentgen rays, in the fitting of shoes or other footwear or in the viewing of bones in the feet is prohibited. This prohibition does not apply to any licensed physician, surgeon, *podiatrist, or any person practicing a licensed healing art, or any technician working under the direct and immediate supervision of such persons.

You’ll find the law here.

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Surely you will agree with The Juice that this food company has crossed the line. Fortunately, there’s a watchdog group who is on it. As reported by redhotrussia.com:

The Prosecutor General’s Office received an official complaint from the public organization – “Russian People’s Council“. Its activists accused Wimm Bill Dann (food company specializing in dairy products) in promotion of homosexuality.

Reason: packages of milk and yogurt contain the image of rainbow, which according to the head of People’s Council is “the universal symbol of LGBT movement and therefore is the open propaganda of vice“.

No! Not … a … rainbow!

Complaint was filed by the Saint-Petersburg section of the organization. It should be noted that in the beginning of this year Saint Petersburg passed the law banning propaganda of “sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality or transgenderism among minors”. In its current draft the violation of this ban is punishable by fine.

Word is the group is working on a super-secret device that will zap rainbows whenever they appear in nature … Here’s the source.

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Let’s say you are in Akron, Ohio, you’re gay, and you see someone you’re interested in, who you think is interested in you. Well, you better be sure. Why? Check out this Akron ordinance:

133.04 – Importuning

… B. No person shall solicit a person of the same sex to engage in sexual activity with the offender, when the offender knows the solicitation is offensive to the other person, or is reckless in that regard.

Importuning? Really? Yup. Here it is.

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Is it just The Juice, or do you also find it ironic that this provision is in the Texas Constitution’s Bill of Rights? Here she goes:

Sec. 4.  RELIGIOUS TESTS. No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

Oh, so you’re religion doesn’t matter … as long as you have one. Whew. For a minute there, it seemed like this dang provision just didn’t belong in the “Bill of Rights.” Here’s a link to the text.

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Actually, madam, your money isn’t good anywhere in the United Kingdom. As a personal injury lawyer, but for his alter ego, this is not something The Juice would normally come across. No doubt Ms. Louise Munro would not have come across a law like the Coinage Act of 1971 either, had she not tried to pay for her gas with, well, coins! As reported by The Liverpool Echo:

Staff at the BP garage in Queens Drive, West Derby, told 24-year-old Louise Munro that they could not accept the 1p and 2p pieces she offered after her bank card failed because of a system failure.

Say what?

Ms Munro, from Roby, who went home to raid her piggy bank for the loose change to settle her debt, was even told by police over the phone that the garage was correct in refusing the payment after a row broke out.

According to the Royal Mint, 1p and 2p coins are legal only if something is bought for just 20p or less.

Under the little-known Coinage Act 1971 it is illegal to use 21 or more 1p pieces in a single transaction.

A truly brilliant customer relations move by the gas station…

Ms Munro, who denied she was being vindictive by handing over coppers, said: “I admit it’s annoying to have to count pennies but that’s all I had and I’m not the kind of person to leave a debt hanging. I wanted to settle it as soon as I could.

“As far as I was concerned it is legal tender – it has the Queen’s head on it and why would they produce them unless they could be used?”

Seems reasonable. After all, it’s only £30, and it’s not like it’s a daily occurrence.

The dispute happened on Sunday afternoon after Ms Munro’s RBS debit card was rejected because of the bank’s system troubles.

And it was brought about through no fault of Ms. Munro!

… she returned three hours later with two money bags filled with carefully counted-out coppers.

But after the garage searched the internet to see if they could accept the change they stumbled across a newspaper article from earlier this year telling of an accountant who was sued for trying to pay an £800 bill in coppers. There they learned of the Coinage Act 1971.

A phone call to the police also confirmed that Ms Munro’s payment contravened the Coinage Act.

[Garage worker Mugeen] Mohammed said the petrol station has not cashed the loose change and wants Ms Munro to return with an alternative form of payment.

Really? People are probably just lining up to buy gas at such a customer-friendly station.

Merseyside Police confirmed they were contacted over the dispute but said it was a “civil matter”.

Whew. No jail time. You’ll find the source here.