Weird and Wacky Wednesdays: Volume Eight

They say a man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer. But what if you have a pile of wool for a lawyer? Find out more about this strange situation on this week’s edition of Weird and Wacky Wednesdays. Then, we explore the case of a thirteen-year-old charged with eavesdropping. And because I’m partial to impaired driving, another wacky excuse that didn’t fly in a DUI investigation.

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Stuffed Animal Lawyer Not The Best Defence
Perhaps it was a trick to appeal to children, but a couple in British Columbia (no, not Florida) lost their bid to get their one-year-old daughter back in court. After she was removed from the home on the basis of an allegation that the home was not safe, the couple hired a stuffed animal to represent them in court. They insisted on only speaking to the animal in tongues. Unsurprisingly, their argument to regain custody of their children was not successful.

And while a stuffed lion is obviously not the way to go, I can’t help but think of the short-lived but near-perfect television series Wonderfalls, in which listening to the advice of a toy lion turned out to be a really smart idea. So, you know, maybe they’re not that far off base.

Final thought: did anyone report the stuffed lion to the Law Society of British Columbia for practicing law while not a member of the BC Bar?


Eavesdropping: Do the Crime, Do the Time
An Illinois child, just thirteen years old, was facing a felony charge for eavesdropping. The whole incident started after the boy decided to record conversations with his principal, after he was called into the office for failing to report for his detentions. Now, I’ve heard of escalating youth misbehaviour, but skipping detention and going straight to a felony charge is a little absurd.

Apparently, in Illinois both parties to a recording need to consent. This is not the law in British Columbia, where only one party to a recording can provide consent for it being made. Think about that the next time you go on a racist rant on the bus. And because the boy did not get consent from his principal, he was technically in violation of the law. A stupid law, which civil liberty advocates have successfully challenged in similar circumstances. But not stupid enough for the great state of Illinois, which charged the boy and had him facing trial for a felony before a sensible prosecutor finally dropped the mess.

I wonder how much detention he’s going to be serving now that he won his case. Hopefully not too much. He’s been through a lot worse by now. Talk about an abuse of process.

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Getting off on a Technicality?
As an impaired driving lawyer, I am often accused of getting my clients off on technicalities. And sometimes this is true. But also, sometimes technicalities are not very helpful. That’s where real legal skills come in. This week’s traditionally strange case from Florida features a man who tried to argue a technicality in his DUI case.

Earle Stevens thought he had come up with the best defence to his charge for drinking and driving. He was innocent. You see, Mr. Stevens was not drinking while driving, he was drinking then driving. You see the difference? Mr. Stevens argued that because he was only been drinking at stop signs and not while the vehicle was in motion he had not committed any offence. Remember what I said about real legal skills? Earle had about as much of those as he had success in his case: very little.

And let’s not forget: it’s still an offence in British Columbia to possess open liquor in a vehicle. Additionally, being in care and control, that is, not actually moving, is also an offence. So the Stevens defence won’t work in British Columbia either, I’m sorry to report.


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