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Real Life Law—Even Stranger Than Fiction Print E-mail
by mary williams    Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 06:44 pm
No matter what kind of plot twists, turns, and unexpected, you-didn’t-see-this-one-coming moments that you may see on television legal dramas like “The Good Wife,” they will never compare to the shocking moments that you can see on a regular basis in the legal world.  Last week, an exasperated judge in Florida actually challenged a public defender to a fight, then stepped outside and beat him up!  (Not surprisingly, that judge is taking some time off for anger management counseling).  And that’s not the only piece of oddball news, as the following examples demonstrate:


Trial Called on Account of Sex

A murder trial in Genoa, Italy was suspended recently because two members of the court’s staff were having sex—right next to the courtroom!  The couple was in an office with smoked glass windows, and clearly thought they couldn’t be seen or heard.  Unfortunately, the outline of two naked bodies was visible and their moans of passion were audible to Judge Anna Ivaldi and prosecutor Sabrina Monteverde.  The judge immediately halted the trial and had the lovers (one of whom is married) taken aside.  An investigation is pending.

Really Swift Justice

Who says the legal system moves slowly?  Dan Greding of Santa Barbara, California recently got a ticket for being parked longer than the 75 minute limit in a newly-redone block of that city’s downtown.  There’s just one problem: Greding is a sign installer for the city, and he was the one installing the very signs warning of the time limit when he was ticketed!  Yes, some overzealous parking cop wrote Greding a ticket while he was finishing up his installing and painting.  Says Greding, “I was dumbfounded.  I just put those signs up 20 minutes ago.”


Truth in Advertising

William Clyde Gibson of New Albany, Indiana, age 56, is accused of brutally killing 3 women.  After being convicted last fall of murdering one victim, Gibson made a rather poor choice in body art before the proceeding; getting a tattoo that reads “Death row X 3” on the back of his shaved head.  Concerned that the jury might be prejudiced by seeing a reference to Gibson’s other crimes, Judge Susan Orth ordered that the defendant not be given haircuts, so that his hair will cover the tattoo.  Gibson’s request to keep his cleanshaven look and simply cover the tattoo with makeup was denied.


That Takes Nerve

Roy Ortiz of Broomfield, Colorado may be grateful for being rescued by first responders during flash flooding that submerged his car last September.  But you wouldn’t know it by his actions.  Ortiz has filed papers indicating his intent to sue his rescuers, claiming that they took too long to respond and rescue him after his car was washed off the road on September 12, 2013.  As a result, Ortiz claims, he was trapped in his upside-down car for 2 hours, suffering injuries that resulted in about $40,000 in medical bills.  He’s seeking $500,000 in total damages.  Gosh, Roy, you shouldn’t have gone to the trouble of a lawsuit—a simple thank you would suffice.


Family Feud, Judicial Smackdown

Justice Ed Morgan lost his patience with both sides in a contentious spat between wealthy neighbors in a tony Toronto enclave.  The Ontario judge’s recent opinion recounted how the feud between an oil executive and his wife and a psychiatrist and his wife arose over an incident involving a bag of dog feces and escalated into a long-running expensive dispute.  In tossing out the case and ordering each side to bear its own court costs, Justice Morgan wrote that “the parties do not need a judge; what they need is a rather stern kindergarten teacher.  They are acting like children.”  If only more judges were like this!


Two Points for Slytherin

It’s never a good idea to lie on your resume.  It’s an even worse idea to use a fictional school as your alma mater, and probably the worst possible idea to use a well-recognized fictional school.  Yet that apparently did not stop one cheeky would-be lawyer in the United Kingdom from applying for a solicitor’s position with a firm, listing on his resume a law degree from Hogwarts—yes, the Hogwarts of “Harry Potter” fame.  Even if this creative young man doesn’t get an interview, let’s hope he took the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” course—that could really come in handy when dealing with lawyers.  And believe it or not, there really is a lawyer named Harry Potter—a criminal law specialist in London!


Worst Veterinarian Ever

Mistaking a human in a gorilla costume for a real gorilla usually only happens in the movies.  But at Loro Parque, a theme park on a Spanish island, the hiring standards for staff veterinarians are apparently pretty low.  During a practice drill to simulate an escaped animal situation, a park employee was dressed in a gorilla suit to add “realism” to the exercise.  It was too much realism for one hapless veterinarian, who shot the co-worker with a tranquilizer gun.  To make matters worse, the “gorilla” suffered an allergic reaction to the tranquilizer, and had to be evacuated to a nearby hospital.  A legal investigation is pending into all of this “monkey business.”

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