, Derry, New Hampshire

Crime / Court

March 28, 2012

Court can really be foolish

This Sunday is April Fool's Day, time for my annual "Fools in the Law" column.

A law was proposed this year requiring all new legislation introduced in New Hampshire "shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta." House Bill 1580 had three sponsors, one of whom admitted he "wasn't terribly familiar" with the document, written in 1215. The bill was killed on Feb. 1.

A Pontiac, Mich., drug-possession suspect claimed he had been searched without a warrant. Prosecutors argued that no warrant was required because a bulge in the man's jacket could have been a gun.

The defendant happened to be wearing the same jacket in court. When he handed it to the judge, a bag of cocaine fell out. The judge is reported to have laughed so hard, court had to recess for five minutes while the justice regained composure.

A Providence, R.I., suspect allegedly overpowered an armored car driver, then grabbed the four money sacks nearest the door and ran. Unfortunately for him, the bags contained $800 in pennies. Each bag weighed 30 pounds, slowing him down so much as he struggled to get away that police officers easily jumped him from behind.

In March, Emerson College banned bottled water on campus. Emerson (in the interest of full disclosure, my alma mater) joins a growing list of schools including Dartmouth, Harvard and Brown which have restricted plastic water bottles.

But, sugary soda and juice are still allowed at Emerson. On April 7, 2011, Boston Mayor Tom Menino signed an executive order banning the sale of sugary soda, juice, sports drinks and the like at City Hall and all city property, including schools. Bottled water wasn't included. So, can people at those two institutions simply walk back and forth for the beverages of their choice?

"Not every ailment afflicting society may be redressed by a lawsuit." Those are the words of a New York Superior Court decision dismissing a lawsuit by unemployed recent law school graduates suing their law school. They claimed the school exaggerated the likelihood of gaining work after getting their degrees.

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