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If you went to law school, you probably read the title of the post and thought, hmm, that sounds like a question on a law school exam. If you’re a normal person, you probably thought “finders, keepers.” So, who gets the money? As reported by azcentral.com:

An Arizona court says a man’s heirs are entitled to $500,000 cash that was found in the walls of his former home years after he died.

The Court of Appeals ruling Thursday upholds a judge’s decision that the money, stashed in ammunition cans inside the walls, belongs to Robert Spann’s estate.

Spann died in 2001. According to the ruling, his daughters found stocks, bonds, cash and gold hidden in his suburban Phoenix home before they sold it seven years later.

The couple who bought the home in Paradise Valley claimed the cash after a worker found it in the walls during kitchen and bathroom remodeling.

We’re rich! We’re rich! No? Exactly how is that money not the property of the current homeowner?

The Court of Appeals said that legally, the money was only mislaid, not abandoned, so it still belonged to Spann’s estate.

Lawyers: Yes, of course. Normal folks: WTF are you talking about? Here’s the source.

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Yes, it’s important to follow the law. And yes, sometimes the state must pursue cases based on principle. But this case? Really? As reported by The Juneau Empire, here’s what happened:

Prosecutors said 19-year-old Tyler John Leatham angrily pushed over and damaged a trash can receptacle in the lobby of the fast food restaurant after he didn’t receive the correct amount of change back for his meal.

Hang him! Here’s how Mr. Leatham described it:

Outside the courtroom, Leatham told the Empire it wasn’t even his money that was in question. Leatham said he and his friend were going through the drive-thru for breakfast around 7 a.m. that morning, and his friend accidently handed the cashier an extra $10 that he thought was a $1 bill.

His friend went inside the restaurant to talk to management, but to no avail. After waiting inside the car for 15 minutes, Leatham said he went inside to see what was going on.

One of the managers told Leatham she was going to call the police, which Leatham said made him frustrated. He pushed the trash can over on the way out of the door, a fact which Higgins told the judge he conceded.

He admitted it! Guilty! Not so fast. Check out the charge:

Leatham was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief for intentionally causing damage to property in an amount of $50 or more, but less than $500.

Assistant Attorney General Chris Peloso said the receptacle cost about $940 to replace.

Even though The Juice is a personal injury lawyer, the defense is relatively obvious (at least it is after reading the story …)

An invoice for the $940 replacement cost was submitted to the court.

Wait for it …

But defense attorney Kevin Higgins argued the critical element for valuation under criminal mischief statutes is the amount of damage caused by the defendant, not simply the value of the damaged property.

The amount of damage has to be established through evidence showing either diminution in value or cost of repair, Higgins said.

“Diminution in value is measured by determining the difference between the pre-damage value of the property and the post-damage value of the property,” Higgins wrote in his motion to acquit which he submitted to the court after the state rested its case. “The cost of repair is also an acceptable method of valuing property damage…. Replacement cost is an unacceptable measure of the amount of damage.”

Bam!

Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy agreed and concluded the state did not present enough evidence regarding the amount of damage actually caused during the Dec. 20 incident.

“It’s sort of like if you had a 1978 Plymouth that got damaged and the cost to replace it — I think we would know that that would far exceed the current value,” Levy said. “Here, there’s no evidence from which I think a reasonable juror could figure out what the current value of the trash receptacle was before and after the alleged damage.”

“I don’t believe a reasonable juror could conclude that the amount of the damage here exceeded $50,” Levy added.

Leatham and the jury were excused before 1 p.m. and the charge was dropped.

Kind of makes you wonder why the charge was brought in the first place. Here’s the source.

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If you want to vote for Eddie Gonzalez for Congress, you can’t. But you can vote for VoteForEddie.com. As reported in The Miami Herald:

Unknown independent Eddie Gonzalez probably knew he’d get little money, no attention and have almost no shot against popular Republican incumbent Rep. Mario Diaz Balart.

So Gonzalez did the logical thing. He legally changed his name to “VoteForEddie.com.”

Wait. You can do that?

Gonzalez…..er… VoteForEddie.com petitioned a Miami-Dade judge to have his new name on the ballot and, viola …

Here’s the source.

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It’s almost like someone said “cue the drunk driver.” As reported by cbslocal.com (Sacramento):

Reporter Doug Brauner, known as “The Car Czar” and host of his own show on cars, was reporting live for Good Day Sacramento Thursday morning when the incident took place at the intersection of Bell Street and El Camino Avenue in Sacramento. Brauner, along with CHP officer Adrian Quintero, were giving viewers tips on crosswalk etiquette.

And … action!

Brauner was standing on the corner and had a green light to cross the street. He was about to step into the crosswalk when the driver of a black truck failed to stop and peeled out as the truck made a right turn and sped off.

As Brauner said in shock “Really! Really?,” Officer Quintero turned on his patrol car lights and took off after the truck.

And?

Later, in another live television segment, Brauner reported that Officer Quintero had pulled the driver over. After conducting a field sobriety test, the driver was arrested for drunk driving.

Here’s the source, with a video of the story.

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If you send nude photos of yourself, to ANYONE, it really is on you if they end up being published. But Instagram? By a “friend”? It’s still on the vic, but man is that cold. As reported by the Burlington County Times (Pennsylvania):

Police are investigating a case of privacy invasion during which nude photographs of a 22-year-old woman were posted online without her permission.

The unidentified victim told authorities that someone created a fake profile in her name with the photo-sharing application Instagram and uploaded the photos to the website, police said Friday.

The victim had taken the photos herself a few years ago and sent them to some of her friends, according to police.

Maybe one day kids will learn (and adults too), that anything you send can end up published for all the world to see.

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Some folks just don’t know when to give up. Some do, though, even when they’re hammered. As reported by The Bee News (Western New York):

Police responded to an accident on Northwood Avenue, where a car had run over a metal sign. The suspect was located on a nearby street and admitted he had been drinking. After failing his third field sobriety test, the suspect said, “Let’s just call it a day.”

Uncle!

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Throughout the years since our nation’s inception, the American courtroom has been the stage for some rather formidable legal battles. Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, and Bush v. Gore come to mind. Sometimes, however, it is highly unlikely that some of the biggest match-ups ever make it to the Law School curriculum. Such is the case of a recent Seventh Circuit decision (remember, these Judges are just below the Supreme Court) between two competing individuals: Pull My Finger® Fred and Fartman.

As described by Circuit Judge Wood, Fred “is a white, middle-aged, overweight man with black hair and a receding hairline, sitting in an armchair wearing a white tank top and blue pants.”
In contrast, Fartman “is a white, middle-aged, overweight man with black hair and a receding hairline, sitting in an armchair wearing a white tank top and blue pants.” Did I say “In contrast”? My mistake…

OK, OK, so neither Fred nor Fartman are actually individuals who appeared in the courtroom. Each are, however, plush dolls who “fart” when one squeezes their respective extended fingers. They also make crude jokes following their flatulence, such as “Did somebody step on a duck?” and “Silent but deadly.”
A copyright infringement case against the producers of Fartman, JCW Investments, Inc., d/b/a Tekky Toys v. Novelty, Inc. provides some rather humorous reading. As the Judges come to the surprising revelation that “there is a niche market for farting dolls, and it is quite lucrative,” they must embark upon rather philosophical debate about the difference between the “idea of” and the “expression of” the “comic archetype [of] ‘a typical man wearing jeans and a T-shirt in a chair doing the ‘pull my finger’ joke’”.

Alas, Fartman’s legacy comes to a disappointing end as the Court decides that he is, in fact, too close to being Fred’s twin to have not violated the copyright. Quite humorously, though, and in a possible foreshadow of the Judges’ own venture into that “niche market for farting dolls,” Judge Wood posits his own expression of that comic archetype:

Novelty could have created another plush doll of a middle-aged farting man that would seem nothing like Fred. He could, for example, have a blond mullet and wear flannel, have a nose that is drawn on rather than protruding substantially from the rest of the head, be standing rather than ensconced in an arm-chair, and be wearing shorts rather than blue pants.

Right on, Judge Wood, right on…

For a picture of Pull-My-Finger Fred, click here. To read the entire decision, click here.

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Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, since the sound barrier on land is about 761 mph (it varies with the atmospheric conditions). But perhaps The Juice is in a state of shock after reading that a nun in Italy was busted for going 110 mph! Really, and with 2 other nuns in the car. Why? Well, as reported at news.com.au, they were …

… on their way to visit the Pope after a bathroom fall.

Demon driver Sister Tavoletta, 56, was at the wheel of the Ford Fiesta, while two other nuns aged 65 and 78, who have not been named, were with her when shocked police pulled them over.

When stunned officers asked them why they were speeding, Sister Tavoletta said: “We had heard how the Pope had fallen over and we were on our way to make sure he was OK.”

The nuns were stopped on a dual carriageway at Quincinetto, near Turin – just an hour’s drive from Pope Benedict XVI’s summer holiday chalet at Les Combes.

They had heard that Pope Benedict XVI had slipped and fractured his wrist at the Salesian convent where they live and immediately got into a car to try to visit him.

A Turin police spokesman said: “The officers involved were amazed to see three nuns in the Ford Fiesta when it stopped – it had been clocked at 110 mph.

“Hopefully, Sister Tavoletta will be making sure she confesses her bad driving the next she goes to confession but in the meantime she will have to pay the 375 Euro (A$659) fine she was given.”

Unlikely, since she is fighting the fine (and the one-month suspension she received), having retained “Italy’s best known lawyer in driving cases, Anna Orecchioni.”

She said: “I will be taking this matter before a judge to get the penalty removed and the nun’s licence reinstated.”

Here’s the source.

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When you think of petty crime, what do you think of? The Juice thinks of stealing something of little value. Here’s a petty crime you probably wouldn’t have thought of, out of New York, as reported by northcountrynow.com:

Jon L. Larue, 21, 5701 County Rt. 10, was charged with petit larceny by St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies after they received a complaint from Perry’s Bottle Redemption Center in Oswegatchie.

They told deputies that they had given Larue cash for the seven rolls he brought in, but what he said were dimes were actually pennies.

Query: How do pennies fit in a dime roll? Answer: Not easily.

After charging him with the misdemeanor count, deputies released Larue on an appearance ticket calling for him to be in Oswegatchie Town Court on June 13.

You’ll find the source here.

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In a 6-week span, this New Jersey man was charged with driving while intoxicated FOUR times! Each time, he was charged and released. As reported by The News of Cumberland County (at nj.com):

[Anderson] Sotomayor [age 45] began his alleged traffic crime spree on April 2, when Ulrich said he collided with a school bus. Though not charged with DWI for that accident, he was charged with improper passing, leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident.

And then …

A week later on April 9, Officer Phillip Martinez charged him with DWI on the 300 block of Axtell Avenue after he collided with a police vehicle.

And then …

Two days later on April 11, Officer Luis Rodriguez charged him with DWI after responding to an accident during which Sotomayor had struck a utility pole by the intersection of Main Street and Landis Avenue.

Two days! And then …

Two weeks later on April 25, Officer Adam Shaw charged him with DWI and several other offenses after stopping him by the intersection of Delsea Drive and Park Avenue. He said Sotomayor was swerving and had a cold, opened 40-ounce bottle of Budweiser on the floor behind the passenger seat. Sotomayor asked Shaw to either give him a ride home or follow him home as he drove, an offer which Shaw declined.

Seems like a question only a drunk guy would ask a cop. And then …

Just over two weeks later on Saturday, May 12, officer Adam Shaw again pulled over Sotomayor on the 200 block of Grape Street. Sotomayor refused to take a breathalyzer test and was again charged with DWI. He was released on a summons pending his case in municipal court.

And finally (hopefully) …

… Sotomayor … received his fourth DWI charge on Saturday and was again released without bail, said Captain Thomas Ulrich of the Vineland police department.

And before you go getting mad at the police, they’re not pleased either.

“Bail is a matter for the Court System. The Police Department or its officers do not set bail. In this case, bail was not approved,” responded Ulrich.

Here’s the source, including a mug shot.