Assorted Stupidity #92

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Normally I wouldn’t do another one of these assortments so soon, but I’ve gotten a little behind during the last two or three weeks. Now that I think about it, though, it really doesn’t matter, so enough of this preliminary banter.

Leprechauns threatened: Take a look at this selection of items from the police blotter in Greeley, Colorado, and consider that this is only a fraction of what humans did in just that one town during just one four-day period. Excerpts:

June 3, 1 p.m.: Greeley police responded to [a] report of the caller’s husband getting strange messages about hiding bodies and having no evidence.

June 4, 10:30 a.m.: Greeley police were called … by a man wanting to know if the police had any raccoons he could use to train his dogs.

June 4, 11:45 p.m.: Greeley police responded to [a] report of a drunk and high man …. The caller said his brother is seeing leprechauns. “He says he is gonna’ kill the little people,” the caller said.

June 5, 1:45 p.m.: Greeley police respond to [a] report of a man who accidentally shot an arrow into his neighbor’s house and wanted police to go with him to get it back.

(Source: Greeley Tribune, via Tom Harrison’s Headline of the Day list; see also, e.g., Rambo Cupid Fires Arrows Around Minnesota Neighborhood,” Lowering the Bar (Apr. 13, 2009).)

Dead-Zulu-folk-musician impersonator sentenced: That was the least of the charges against Sibusiso Gcabashe, a South African who got 28 years for multiple crimes including rape and assault, but it was the oddest:

Gcabashe was also convicted of impersonating Khulekani “Mgqumeni” Khumalo, who died in 2009…. Three years after his death, Gcabashe returned to the singer’s hometown, claiming he had been kidnapped by a witchdoctor who had cast a spell on him and held him in a cave with zombies.

His fingerprints proved he was not the singer, police said at the time….

Even Khumalo’s own family appeared split over his identity. While his wives believed he was their husband returned from the dead, a former lover was not convinced.

Seems more likely the wives just didn’t care as much, but that’s just speculation. (Source: BBC News)

Lame brief costs lawyer $173,000: Probably less, but she sought $180,000 in fees and costs, got only $6,800, and then waived the point on appeal because she didn’t bother to explain why she should get more:

[She] asks us to “reverse or vacate” the district court’s award of attorney’s fees and costs because the district court awarded only 3% of the amount requested. By positing only that the modest size of the award (as compared to the request) amounts to a “non-award,” she presents the court with a gripe, unaccompanied by legal reasoning in support of judicial relief. We therefore agree with Defendants that [she] forfeited this issue by inadequately briefing it.

To be fair (kind of), there may not have been any good arguments to make. The plaintiff claimed the phrase “Featuring Starbucks Coffee” on a Kraft coffeemaker was a warranty that Starbucks coffee pods would continue to be available, when Kraft supposedly knew Starbucks was discontinuing them. After two years of litigation over this dastardly practice, she took $250 to settle her claim. So it’s a little hard to see why any amount, much less $180k, was justified for pursuing this truly stupid case. (Source: ABA Journal; opinion is here)

“Oh, by golly, you are dead”: Better to hear this from a Social Security worker than your doctor, I guess:

Puzzled, the 73-year-old Lincoln [Nebraska] man called his bank thinking maybe there’d been a computer glitch. U.S. Bank told him to call Mellon Bank, who told him to call his pension administrator, who told him he was dead.

“And I said, ‘Oh?’ and I got a little concerned,” the retiree said….

Eventually, they found the Social Security office, took a number and waited three hours until a friendly woman called his name. “I gave her my passport and my driver’s license and she goes clickety-clickety-click and she says, ‘Oh, by golly, you are dead,’ and she laughed about it.”

The dead man laughed, too, but he still didn’t have his money.

Earlier this year, the Social Security Administration itself said an audit found about 12,000 mistakes per year out of 2.5 million death reports. The SSA, of course, focused on what it described as the “very low” error rate (about one-half of one percent), not the absolute number, and I’m still trying to decide whether that’s fair or not. You could say, as the agency did, that “there are fewer than 1,000 cases each month in which the agency mistakenly declares a living person is deceased,” or you could say that a living person is mistakenly declared dead in the U.S. about once every 45 minutes. I will leave that to you for now. (Source: Lincoln Journal-Starsee also, e.g. “‘No, You’re Still Deceased,’ Judge Tells Dead Man,” Lowering the Bar (Oct. 10, 2013).)