Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Say What?

I have a hard time with the 2d story particularly if all the person did was loan his car to someone without knowledge it was going to be used in a murder.

Legal stories to ponder and confuse, including Freedom of Religion and other just plain insanities

In December, inmate Michael Polk (serving time for robbery and aggravated assault) filed a federal lawsuit against the Utah Department of Corrections for denying him the right to properly practice his religion, Asatru. According to its teachings, adherents must communicate with ancient Nordic gods (such as Odin, Thor and Heimdal) and for that, it is crucial that they have a Thor's Hammer, a Mead Horn (for drinking Wassail), a drum of wood and boar skin, a "rune staff," and a sword (though Polk graciously said he would accept a cardboard sword).

Ryan Holle, 25, is serving a life sentence (with no possibility of parole) in Florida even though his only connection to a 2003 murder was that he loaned his car to one of the killers. According to a December New York Times report, Florida, even when dispensing its second-worst punishment of all, does not restrict "aiding and abetting" to just those who consciously assist a murder.

Scott Masters, 41, faced a potential 30-year sentence for shoplifting a doughnut in a Farmington, Mo., convenience store in September because, as he exited the store, he pushed a worker aside. Prosecutors said that "assault" made the crime a "strong-arm robbery" (but in December, a judge decided 90 days in jail was more appropriate).

A warehouse on Chicago's West Side is "the world capital of fake (latex) vomit, where it's still made the old-fashioned way, ladle by ladle, formed and coagulated," reported the Chicago Tribune in December. Though it is not as popular as 50 years ago (7,000 units sold yearly, compared to 60,000 then), Fun Inc. President Graham Putnam said, still, "It's the best vomit on the market." According to the awe-struck Tribune reporter: "The texture is soft and sturdy, pliable and complex, with ridges of multihued solid chunks looking like a jagged lunar landscape ... perfect for the bathroom, refrigerator, auto seat or sidewalk."

Evangelical Christians, among all people of faith, seem excited to purchase products that reinforce their religious values, according to a marketer cited in a December Denver Post report, with the result an explosion of Jesus-themed merchandise such as Jesus riding a bull, surfing and playing soccer, Jesus air-fresheners and Grapes of Galilee wine. (Among the tackier products, according to a November report in London's Daily Telegraph, are "thongs of praise" underwear with an image of the Madonna and child, and a template to place on a bread slice in an oven to create toast with the Virgin Mary's likeness.)

Salt Lake City police reported that an out-of-town man was treated at a local hospital on Dec. 1 after being beaten up by gang members. The man had earlier mentioned to the gangbangers that "Utah gangs" are not as tough as those from his hometown.

Unclear on the Concept: The 44-year-old man who allegedly skipped out on a court appearance in April in Vernon, British Columbia, in connection with marijuana-growing was arrested in December in Mission, British Columbia, when he applied for a job at the county jail.

Also in December, police in Oakland, Calif., charged Jason Brooks, 24, who had just recently applied to be an Oakland police officer, with a string of 18 armed robberies dating back to May. (Brooks told the arresting officers that, still, he'd like to join the force.)

Michael Millhouse was arrested in Clarkston, Wash., in December and charged with stealing a woman's wallet at a convenience store, a crime that was captured on surveillance video, one image from which was subsequently published on the front page of the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune. Also on Page One that day was a news photo of a man painting Christmas messages in a local store window. A Tribune editor noticed that the two men bore a resemblance and called the police, who agreed, and arrested the painter, Millhouse.

Tha....That's all folks!