Lead Story

A 37-year-old Minneapolis man was charged in May with indecent exposure for several incidents, the last culminating with a car chase that caused several collisions. After stopping the man’s car, police found him naked from the waist down, with four one-dollar bills attached to his penis. Police said they had picked him up naked several times before, except with higher-denomination bills attached.

Judges From Hell

In a case involving a high school teacher and a 16-year-old girl, circuit judge John Langston ruled in April that it is not illegal in Arkansas for a man to touch a female’s breasts as long as she is at least 14 years old and no force or threats are used. Langston said he was shocked that no law on the books seemed to cover the situation.

The Iowa Employment Appeal Board ruled in April that Mr. Kay Stone, 55, a former night guard at a convenience store, was eligible for unemployment benefits even though he was fired. Stone was canned one night when a fight broke out in the store, whereupon he ran and hid in a walk-in cooler. Ruled the board, “Incompetence in a position is not [a disqualifier].”

In January Judge Neil Denison gave an 18-month suspended sentence to Bisla Rajinder Singh in Erith, England, after he was convicted of strangling his wife to death. The judge explained that Singh had been “nagged” too much by his wife and that he had stayed with her only to protect the children.

In November a circuit court judge in Selma, Alabama, rejected decisions by city and state unemployment compensation boards and awarded $2,000 in back pay to former sewer worker William Perry. Perry had been fired because his waist had grown to 40 inches, preventing him from fitting through a 23-inch manhole and thus rendering him unable to do his job. The judge said that wasn’t a good enough reason to fire him.

The Litigious Society

Rochelle Rutherford filed a lawsuit recently against a local school district near Minneapolis because her nine-year-old son had taken to wearing girls’ clothes. At one time many of the boys, including him, had been forced to use the girls’ rest room at school because of a shortage of facilities, and they had been required to wear girls’ clothing during recreation activities because of a shortage of boys’ clothing.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in Little Rock, Arkansas, in May over the state’s refusal to allow the Ku Klux Klan to participate in its adopt-a-highway program.

Four New York City police officers, defendants in a $5 million police-brutality lawsuit that alleges they beat up a 12-year-old epileptic boy, filed a $1 million countersuit in December, claiming it was actually the boy who brutalized them, leaving them “sick, sore, lame, and disabled.”

Linda and Frederick Hinrichs filed a lawsuit recently in Golden, Colorado, for humiliation they suffered when a clerk at Gateway Mazda in nearby Aurora put a derogatory name on their ownership records. So far, the couple has received two mailings from Mazda Motors of America addressed to “Buttface Hinrichs.”

In March a judge dismissed James Blakeley’s lawsuit against the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Blakeley had sued for $9 million, claiming that the newspapers’ horoscope columns caused him “an enormous amount of problems.”

Madiha el-Sayed went to court in Cairo, Egypt, in May to prove that she is still alive. The government says that, according to a ferryboat manifest, she drowned in December when the boat sank. She had in fact not boarded the boat, but since the disaster she has not been able to reclaim her job, claim government food subsidies, or take care of her children’s affairs.

Least Competent Person

A 16-year-old boy, already under court supervision, was arrested in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in March as he attempted to make his required restitution payments (usually $5 to $25 a week) for damage he had done with a stolen car. This time he offered his probation officer the equivalent of $16–$6 in cash and a $10 vial of cocaine.

The Weirdo-American Community

A 40-year-old man was arrested in San Antonio in April after he caused a commotion at a Bank One office. According to a bank spokesperson, when the man was informed that his loan application had not been approved, he stripped off his clothes and quacked like a duck. When police arrived, the man answered questions by quacking and then kicked a squad car, causing $1,000 in damage.

The Diminishing Value of Life

In May bar owner Thomas Bailey, 35, was charged with killing customer William Wilford, 30, in a scuffle in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Bailey said he had been trying to make his bar classier by imposing a dress code, but that Wilford had insisted on entering wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and sneakers.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.