Assorted Stupidity #136

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  • “Someone stole the stolen vehicle,” said this detective in York, Pennsylvania, but he wasn’t just stating the obvious. Officers stopped a car that had been reported stolen, but the driver got out and ran away. They pursued. And while they were pursuing, somebody else got in the car and drove away, thus stealing the stolen vehicle.
  • Who’d he steal it from? Not the first thief, or the police, because they didn’t own it (and weren’t even in possession at the time). I think he stole it from the owner, because the state’s “theft by unlawful taking” statute says a person is guilty “if he unlawfully takes, or exercises unlawful control over, movable property of another with intent to deprive him thereof.” The second thief did that. Just because somebody else had already stolen the property doesn’t mean he couldn’t also steal it, or re-steal it, maybe. Just a tip in case anyone thinks you can’t steal something stolen.
  • On July 14, the Washington Court of Appeals held in favor of a 17-year-old girl who was convicted of harassment based on texts in which she threatened her mother. The girl sent the texts only to her friends, but the mother discovered them and called police. The court held that in context, these did not seem to be “true threats,” but just a teenager blowing off steam. The conviction therefore violated the First Amendment. The opinion (PDF) contains obscene language, but the footnotes in which the court “translates” abbreviations and symbols such as “tf,” “LMFAO,” and the “smiling face with horns” emoji, are amusing.
  • Speaking of harassment (of a different kind), the BBC reports that a former member of Parliament has been convicted of sexually assaulting two women, in incidents that occurred nine years apart. The defendant claimed that during one of the incidents he was “under a misapprehension,” which the report does not explain but was evidently the kind of misapprehension that can cause one to grope a woman and chase her around while chanting “I’m a naughty Tory.” Now a naughty ex-Tory, he will be sentenced next month.
  • Also back in the news: Alabama state Rep. Will Dismukes, who said last week that he was “surprised” by the calls (from both sides of the aisle) for his resignation after he appeared at a birthday celebration for Nathan Bedford Forrest, an excellent cavalry general but later the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. This week’s surprise: a warrant for felony theft that accused Dismukes of embezzling money from a former employer. He maintains his innocence.
  • That report suggests, of course, that marijuana is actually still illegal in Maryland, which is worth noting, what with it being the 21st century and all. In California, it is difficult not to detect the odor of marijuana at any given time, which I imagine must be terribly confusing for the many nasally gifted officers.