Category:
Law

What rights do goldfish have?

1978: The final act of a British play titled The Last Temptation involved a goldfish bowl, with a live goldfish inside, being thrown across the stage, causing the fish to tumble onto the ground, where it died. Outraged animal lovers sued, prompting a two-year legal battle in which the courts deliberated on whether it was possible to be cruel to goldfish. Or rather, should goldfish enjoy the protections given to other animals such as cats and dogs?

The first court ruled that goldfish enjoyed no such protections, but in 1980 the High Court overturned this decision, ruling that it is, indeed, possible to be cruel to goldfish, and that the law should not allow such behavior.

I'm not sure if there's any equivalent American law pertaining to goldfish. But I imagine that if there was then surely boiling lobsters alive would also be illegal.

The Guardian - Nov 3, 1978



Victoria Times Colonist - July 30, 1980

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 20, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Law, Fish, 1970s

Constitution of Alabama

Clocking in at 310,296 words, the constitution of Alabama is the longest constitution in the world. By comparison, the U.S. constitution is only 4,543 words (including the signatures).

The bloat of the document is a result of the state government deciding that it needed to micromanage the individual counties. So all kinds of local regulations have been included in the constitution. Wikipedia explains:

About 90 percent of the document's length, as of 2018, is made up of its 946 amendments ... About 75 percent of the amendments cover individual counties or cities, and some are so detailed as to deal with salaries of specific officials (e.g. Amendment 480 and the Greene County probate judge). As a result, Alabama has a very high number of constitutional officers and the constitution makes it very difficult for residents of most counties to solve their own problems.

The Constitutional Convention was called with the intention by Democrats of the state "to establish white supremacy in this State," "within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution." Its provisions essentially disenfranchised most African Americans and thousands of poor whites, who were excluded for decades.


You can read the full document here.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jul 17, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Government, Regulations, Law

Will to be read in 2163

Adolph Metzer loved cats and dogs. So, in his will, he gave $1000 to the city of Evanston, as well as to ten states, with the stipulation that the money be put in a bank account and not touched until 2163. By that time, he figured, his money would have grown to $201,559,641.30. All of which could be spent to help homeless cats and dogs.

I haven't been able to find out what happened to his money. My guess is that it's long gone.

Washington Post - Mar 13, 1913

Posted By: Alex - Tue Jul 14, 2020 - Comments (6)
Category: Death, Law, 1910s

Drunk Driving Defense

Back in 1971, Melvin Baker offered a novel defense for why he shouldn't have been charged with drunk driving. He was, he said, too drunk to have made an intelligent decision about whether to submit to the breathalyzer test — the results of which led to him being charged. He apparently argued this case all the way up to the New York Supreme Court.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat - July 7, 1971



Details about this case are hard to come by, but this other brief article offers an explanation for why Baker persisted with his seemingly hopeless argument. Because if he had refused to take the test, he would only have had his license suspended. But having taken the test, and failed it, he also faced criminal prosecution. So it was all an elaborate, legalistic ploy to get the lighter penalty.

Long Beach Independent - Sep 7, 1971

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 14, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Law, 1970s, Cars

Sneezing Protected

This is good to know in the pandemic era. I hope coughing is covered as well.



Source.

Posted By: Paul - Fri May 08, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Accidents, Law, 1950s, Cars

The Hero Thrill Show Queens



"Hero Scholarship Thrill Show Queen competitors [1969] Carolyn McNish and JoAnne Bream are crowned by Police Captain Philip Baumgardner, Fairmount Park Lt. Joseph Salamone and Deputy Fire Chief Frank Bowen."



"Northeast Regional finalists for Thrill Show queen [1974] are Denise Needham, nominated by the police department, and Sandra Hartman nominated by the fire department. Standing are John Craig, chief police inspector, and Martin Preite, deputy fire chief."

What is the "Hero Thrill Show?" Their Wikipedia page has the answer.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Mar 31, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Law, Regionalism, 1960s, 1970s

The Tree That Owns Itself

Recall those recent legal battles about granting new rights to animals? How about this for a precedent?

From the Wikipedia page:

The Tree That Owns Itself is a white oak tree that has, according to legend, legal ownership of itself and of all land within eight feet (2.4 m) of its base. The tree, also called the Jackson Oak, is located at the corner of South Finley and Dearing Streets in Athens, Georgia, United States. The original tree, thought to have started life between the mid-16th and late 18th century, fell in 1942, but a new tree was grown from one of its acorns, and planted in the same location. The current tree is sometimes referred to as the Son of The Tree That Owns Itself. Both trees have appeared in numerous national publications, and the site is a local landmark.


Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 31, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Law, Nature, Nineteenth Century

The man who hated double parking

Robert Allan Miller hated double parkers so much that he left money in his will to the city of Bethlehem, PA for a fund that would reward police officers who ticketed double-parked cars.

However, the city had to turn down the bequest due to their policy of not giving officers incentives for ticket-writing. (Which surprises me, since I figured municipal police depts used all kinds of ways to encourage officers to write tickets.)

Latrobe Bulletin - Aug 24, 1998

Posted By: Alex - Mon Dec 31, 2018 - Comments (0)
Category: Law, Police and Other Law Enforcement, 1990s

Sentenced to watch Bambi

Four members of a southwest Missouri family have been caught in a multi-year poaching case where authorities say hundreds of deer were killed illegally...
The case was so egregious that Lawrence County Judge Robert George ordered a special addition to the jail time one of the poachers received.
Court records show the defendant "is to view the Walt Disney movie Bambi, with the first viewing being on or before December 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter, during Defendants incarceration in the Lawrence County Jail."

Source: Springfield News-Leader

Hasn't the judge seen A Clockwork Orange? For behavioral change, the guy should have been sentenced to watch Bambi constantly with his eyelids held open.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 19, 2018 - Comments (6)
Category: Law, Judges, Movies

Page 1 of 7 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›




weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •