Assorted Stupidity #120

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  • On January 31, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by two Saints fans seeking to reverse the result of the NFC championship game, which was marred by a pretty egregious missed call. The fans cited an NFL rule giving the commissioner authority to take “appropriate measures” if a “calamity” has “extraordinarily unfair” results, and sought a writ of mandamus forcing him to apply that rule. But Judge Susie Morgan held that state law only allows such a writ in certain types of cases, and this wasn’t one of them.
  • They might have better luck suing the NFL, the Patriots, the Rams, and Maroon 5 for the calamity that was Super Bowl LIII. A writ of mandamus wouldn’t do any good now, but several tort causes of action come to mind.
  • William Shatner is also threatening a lawsuit, not against the NFL but rather a 62-year-old Tampa man who claims to be his illegitimate son. According to Peter Sloan, his mother had a fling with Shatner in 1956, and he was the result—although according to the Tampa Bay Times, Sloan concedes his mother once told him the father could be “either Shatner or a second man she only recalls as ‘Chick,’ a law student from Montreal.” In January, Sloan filed a petition to change his name to “Peter Shatner.” Shatner’s lawyer responded with a cease-and-desist order.
  • The director of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association claimed this week that if police are not allowed to profit from civil-forfeiture cases, they would have no incentive to do their jobs. If they don’t get to keep the money they take from suspects—if that’s the right word; many are never arrested, let alone charged—”what is the incentive to go out and make a special effort?” Jarrod Bruder said. “What is the incentive for interdiction?” Oddly, Bruder seems to understand that money can be a powerful incentive, and yet seems to have no inkling that it could, potentially, provide a perverse incentive that might encourage officers to make “special efforts” without solid evidence. Puzzling.
  • On the other hand, officers in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, were apparently willing to go to great lengths not to arrest someone, even though he was wanted for murder and was trying to turn himself in. The New Orleans Advocate reported that when the man showed up at the front desk with his lawyer, deputies refused to process him for more than an hour because he didn’t have ID. The lawyer said her argument that people generally don’t try to impersonate someone who’s wanted for murder fell on deaf ears.