John G. Browning 2016-05-03 00:51:05
Another Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Courthouse Readers who appreciated my previous installment of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Courthouse” can attest that truth is indeed stranger than fiction when it comes to the legal system. From an overly appreciative defendant to a toddler’s obsession with a personal injury lawyer to a government record written in Klingon, these latest entrants in a roundup of the legally bizarre will have you scratching your head. Tattoo You. A wise judge can make a difference in the life of a young person, particularly one who is navigating run-ins with the law. For a North Carolina man, Pollo Collazo, the prospect of jail time for a domestic violence charge was a sobering one, and when Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis spared him incarceration and ordered him into a therapy program instead, Collazo was grateful. So grateful in fact, that he had the judge’s first name tattooed on his neck. Word is that Judge Lewis’s husband isn’t too thrilled with this over-the-top display. Not the Best Defense. Facing third-degree felony charges for stealing more than $1,000 from Capital One Bank in New York’s Chinatown, Joe Gibbons had a unique defense: performance art. The filmmaker, performance artist, and former lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did film the entire incident, including the “scene” where he handed the bank teller a note that read: “THIS IS A ROBBERY. LARGE BILLS. NO DYE PACKS/NO GPS.” Of course, the bank’s security cameras were filming as well. Gibbons finally acknowledged that he had needed the money and pleaded guilty before being sentenced to one year in prison. Now he’ll have time to research future “roles.” Beam Me Out of Here.Welsh politician Darren Millar, after being contacted by constituents about a series of alleged UFO sightings, sent several official questions to Edwina Hart, the Welsh minister for economy, science, and transport (and a member of the rival Labour Party). The response Millar received through official channels was, well, out of this world. Hart’s office sent back a response in Klingon—the language of aliens on Star Trek—that was translated to read, “The Minister will respond in due course. However this is a [matter for the full Parliament]”! There was no explanation given for why the Welsh government would be communicating in Klingon, but Millar said, “I’ve always suspected that Labour Ministers came from another planet. This response confirms it.” No More TV for You. The Tennessee Supreme Court recently upheld the oneyear suspension of a lawyer who overcharged her clients and then threatened them with criminal proceedings when they refused to pay. Among other claims against Yarboro Sallee, according to the Board of Professional Responsibility, was that Sallee had charged clients on a wrongful death case for such things as “watching many hours of reality crime television shows.” Strangest Birthday Party Ever? Some kids idolize superheroes like Batman as well as professional athletes. But lawyers? Louisiana mom L’erin Dobra threw 2-yearold son Grayson a birthday party themed after her little boy’s biggest idol: New Orleans personal injury lawyer Morris Bart. Grayson is apparently taken with Bart’s omnipresent TV ads and his catchy slogan (“One Call, That’s All!”) and will even watch them on YouTube. Grayson is, according to his mom, “literally obsessed with Morris Bart.” The toddler’s party featured a cake with Bart’s likeness, a cardboard cutout of the lawyer, and a toddler- size Morris Bart T-shirt. And while Bart himself didn’t attend, he did send the boy an autographed photo, Morris Bart key chains, and a New Orleans Pelicans shirt with his logo on the back. Bart said he was “flattered” by Grayson’s fascination with him, adding that the boy “could be a future competitor of mine many years down the road.” JOHN G. BROWNING is a partner in Passman & Jones in Dallas, where he handles commercial litigation, employment, health care, and personal injury defense matters in state and federal courts. He is an award-winning legal journalist for his syndicated column, “Legally Speaking,” and is the author of the Social Media and Litigation Practice Guide and a forthcoming casebook on social media and the law. He is an adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
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