Weird Universe


The minister who didn’t leave

Jackson, Mississippi. 1966: Rev. Dennis McDonald, being a new preacher in town, visited local residents with his two sons to invite them to his church. But he was shocked (shocked!) when he paid a visit to Mrs. Pendergrass and found her sunbathing outside in her birthday suit. Naturally he had to report her to the police, who fined her $50.

But Mrs. Pendergrass appealed the fine, and the court took her side, noting that a) she was on her own property, not in public; and b) if the minister was so shocked, why did he hang around at her house for 45 minutes?

You can read the court case here: MRS. ROY C. PENDERGRASS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI.

Kokomo Morning Times - Dec 20, 1966

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Jan 20, 2016 | Comments (12)
Category: Law, 1960's

Paring knives are not arms

After Wayne Anthony Evans was pulled over for speeding by a Seattle police officer, a paring knife was found in his pocket, and he was arrested for possession of a fixed-blade knife. In his defense, Evans argued that the Seattle municipal code banning fixed-blade knifes violated his constitutional right to bear arms.

Not so, the Washington Supreme Court recently decided. It didn't consider the constitutionality of the municipal code itself, but (looking narrowly at the facts of this specific case) decided that there was no historical evidence that paring knives are "arms." Therefore, they can be banned.

we hold that not all knives are constitutionally protected arms and that Evans does not demonstrate that his paring knife is an "arm" as defined under our state or federal constitution.

If Evans had been carrying a bayonet, perhaps the outcome of the case would have been different.

via Wash Post
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jan 04, 2016 | Comments (5)
Category: Law, Weapons

Skeet Shoot

So, as it turns out, its illegal to shoot down a drone even if its spying on you. Same penalty as shooting at an airplane.
Posted By: patty | Date: Sat Dec 26, 2015 | Comments (11)
Category: Drones, Law

Litigation Through Poetry:  Or, Texas Is Hell


Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Jul 22, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Law, Nature, Regionalism, Religion, Poetry, 1900's

Indiana legalizes sawed off shotguns


Beginning July 1st we can own one as long as it is manufacture made. Mine is already ordered.
Posted By: BrokeDad | Date: Sat Jun 27, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Guns, Law

Tax Per Mile

Oregon is running a voluntary per mile travel tax instead of the current per gallon standard. The volunteers do not have to pay the gas tax while participating in the study.
Does anyone really believe the gas tax will go away if the per mile tax is enacted? Does any tax ever go away once it is put in place? So if this goes through we may as well expect both.
What a great way to control travel, especially for the poor. This idea is a greater threat to personal liberty than the Patriot Act. It is much easier to control a non-moving populace.
Posted By: patty | Date: Wed May 20, 2015 | Comments (14)
Category: Government, Regulations, Law, Motor Vehicles, Cars, More Things To Worry About

Attorney Larry L. Archie


Via a chain of transmission that extends through our own Chuck Shepherd and longtime WU-vie Professor Music, we get the astonishing picture above, the kind of advert favored by Attorney Larry L. Archie.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Thu May 07, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Eccentrics, Law, Advertising

Noise Complaint

The joy of neighbors! Police gave 91-year-old Yvette Vachon of Quebec a ticket for $148 after her neighbors downstairs complained she was making too much noise. Apparently her la-z-boy style rocking chair was too loud.

However, after reviewing the complaint (and possibly swayed by all the media attention the case was getting in Canada) the city cancelled the fine. [National Post]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon May 04, 2015 | Comments (6)
Category: Law

Is cannibalism illegal?

Turns out there are no laws in the U.S. specifically outlawing cannibalism, except in Idaho, which has this statute on the books:

18-5003.  CANNIBALISM DEFINED -- PUNISHMENT. (1) Any person who wilfully ingests the flesh or blood of a human being is guilty of cannibalism.
(2)  It shall be an affirmative defense to a violation of the provisions of this section that the action was taken under extreme life-threatening conditions as the only apparent means of survival.
(3)  Cannibalism is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding fourteen (14) years.

What's going on in Idaho that inspired this law? A 2011 article in the Journal of Law and Social Deviance explains:

In Idaho, anthropophagy (called cannibalism by statute) is illegal. The statute makes it an offense to drink human blood or consume human flesh, punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. The law was conceived in 1990 as a response to fears that ritualized practices involving sexual abuse and torture of minors would include anthropophagy. The legislators criminalized the consumption of human blood and flesh out of a concern that children would be sacrificed, eaten, or forced to consume the tissue of murdered or necrotic bodies during ritual practices.

But what about placenta-eating (a practice that's been discussed a number of times here on WU)? Wouldn't the Idaho statute make this practice illegal? Yes, technically it would. But the same article argues that if Idaho ever tried to send anyone to prison for placenta eating (or any other non-harmful, consensual form of cannibalism — ingesting blood, etc.), their statute would probably be ruled unconstitutional as it violates a fundamental "right to privacy."
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat May 02, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Food, Law

Nagging as divorce cause

The 1947 case of DeWaal vs. DeWaal established nagging as legitimate grounds for divorce (in Nebraska). I assume this was before the availability of no-fault divorce. (A quick google search reveals that Nebraska only adopted a no-fault divorce law in 1972.)

Note that Mrs. DeWaal argued that her husband was at fault (and not herself) because he went to motion picture theaters and read "sensational magazines."

(left) The Harrisburg Evening News - Oct 28, 1947; (right) The Lincoln Star - Oct 24, 1947
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Mar 22, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Law, Lawsuits, Husbands, Wives, 1940's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.