Leonard Brown, 47, sentenced in 1982 to 99 years in prison in Florida for armed robbery, was released in April after a fellow inmate (having looked over Brown’s records) pointed out to officials that Brown’s sentence was illegally long and that 15 years was the maximum time he could have been kept behind bars. The probable explanation, according to sources cited by The Tampa Tribune, was that Brown’s judge (now deceased) misinterpreted whether Brown was ever armed. Thus, but for the fortuitous discovery of that eagle-eyed inmate, Brown would have spent his entire post-teenage life in prison.
The Kuwait Times reported in April that food inspectors shut down the Hawally bakery in Kuwait City after finding dough stored in a toilet, which the owner explained was so that the humidity would keep it moist. And Houston police officials started an investigation in March into whether Lt. Joseph Buttitta had sexually harassed a female officer. KPRC-TV reported that the female at first described a consensual relationship that she should have broken off sooner, but then “accidentally” (in a reporter’s word) told Buttitta she loved him when she really meant to say goodbye.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Caught by police with illegal emergency lights on his car, Bradenton, Fla., restaurant manager Kenneth Holmes, 26, said at his February sentencing for impersonating a police officer that he did it “to get home quicker,” that the flashers were “cool” and a “fantastic time-saver” that enabled him to drive through red lights. And according to a February police report on the Arizona State University student newspaper’s Web site, an 18-year-old student, arrested at Hayden Library for masturbating openly while watching Internet porn, explained to police, “To be honest, the Internet connection at my dorm isn’t good enough.”
OUR LITIGIOUS SOCIETY
Michael Oddenino, a lawyer in Arcadia, Calif., filed a lawsuit in March against the coach of his daughter’s high school softball team for $3 million for her emotional distress from the coach’s calling her a “2-year-old” and calling the players in general “idiots” for making insignificant mistakes. A judge rejected it. And in Cardiff, Wales, in March, Sabrina Pace, 26, sued the manager of the car rental firm where she works because, following her breast-augmentation surgery, she couldn’t get the manager to stop paying attention to her breasts.
In February, several patients at an unlicensed mental health facility in Columbus, Ga., told the local Ledger-Enquirer newspaper that they had recently worked security at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta during football games of the University of Georgia and the Atlanta Falcons. Among the facility’s patients are those diagnosed with anti-social personalities or bi-polar disorder or homicidal tendencies.
SHANIA TWAIN IS NOTHING BUT TROUBLE
Matt Brownlee, 33, with a long record as a drunk driver, was acquitted of criminal DUI charges in Ottawa, Ontario, after psychiatrists concluded that his latest accident was the result of a sincere belief that singer Shania Twain was helping him drive the car. A 1996 brain injury might have given him a disorder in which he believes that celebrities communicate with him telepathically. And following a hung jury in England’s Winchester Crown Court in April, Linda West faces retrial in the 2005 death of her husband, which she said was accidental, in that her gun slipped while she was energetically performing a Shania Twain number (“Man! I Feel Like a Woman”) in what she described as the couple’s sex game. MTW