The Supreme Court of Canada overturned a man’s conviction in one of the most bizarre cases this writer’s heard of — a British Columbia man had been convicted in 2000 of indecency for masturbating in his own living room.
Two of the man’s busybody neighbors were able to witness the event through an opening in the man’s living room blinds. Of course in order to do so, first they had to uses first binoculars and then a telescope (the husband actually tried to videotape the man).
The man already served a four month prison sentence (!), but the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9-0 that since the man clearly did not realize he was being watched — and who expects the idiot neighbors to pull out a telescope (doesn’t Canada have Peeping Tom laws?) — he was not acting indecently.
Writing for the court, Mr. Justice Morris Fish wrote,
I do not believe it [the indecency law] contemplates the ability of those who are neither entitled, nor invited, to enter a place to see or hear from the outside — through uncovered windows or open doors — what is transpiring inside.
Thank goodness it is once again safe to masturbate in the comfort of one’s home in Canada.
Bess Carney, 27, made national news in January after being accused of a strange fake Internet harassment scheme.
The Vermont woman is accused of setting up an e-mail account in the name of a former co-worker after said co-worker began dating one of Carney’s friends. Carney allegedly then used the e-mail account to send herself harassing and bizarre e-mails. She then forwarded the e-mails on to other associates to make it look like her former co-worker was unstable and harassing her.
Carney apparently also reported to police that the former co-worker was harassing her via e-mail.
As a result of all this, she was arrested in January and charged with charged with one felony county of identity theft for allegedly pretending to be the former co-worker in the e-mails, along with misdemeanor charges of filing a false police report and unauthorized computer access. She faces up to 3 years in jail and a $5,000 fine on the felon identity theft charge, and up to six months in jail and a $500 fine on each of the misdemeanor charges.
Pamela Kaichen, 44, robbed six banks in New York and Connecticut over a 48 hour period in May of 2003. She pretended to have a gun during the robberies, and when she was arrested more than $42,000 was found in her apartment and car.
A judge sentenced her to just 4 years in jail — despite federal sentencing guidelines that call for 7 1/4 years for crimes similar to Kaichen’s. The judge bought Kaichen’s claim that she suffered from a mental condition that was worsened after she volunteered at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks and that she only stole the money in order to give it to 9/11 victims. During at least two of the robberies she told bank tellers that she had either lost a loved one or personally “went through” the 9/11 terrorist attack, both claims that were false.
In giving her a lenient sentence, U.S. District Judge Ellen Bree Burns said,
It’s clear this defendant was acting under significant mental disabilities trigger by her horrendous experience at Ground Zero . . . When Ms. Kaichen saw the sheer magnitude of grief as a result of 9/11, she began to feel like a failure. It is not a stretch to say if it was not for what Ms. Kaichen experienced on 9/11, we would not be here today.
In mid-January, Mary Masson, 29, was acquitted on charges of making false sexual abuse charges against her former husband in one of the more bizarre such cases.
In 2002, Masson left her husband, Jean-Yves Masson. She then told her sister-in-law and police that in 1999 she discovered a videotape that her then-fiancee had made of him sexual abusing their daughter. She claimed that she had forced her fiance to write a confession to that effect, and wrapped the confession around the videotape which she then placed in an attic.
Police doubted her story almost from the moment she said it, finding it difficult to believe that Mary would marry Jean-Yves and repeatedly leave him alone with their daughter if the claim were true. When police searched the attic, they found no tape and after an investigation charged Mary Masson with making a false accusation.
Most damning was Mary’s statement to police that she discovered the videotape while she was on the phone with a friend. According to Mary, she had screamed while on the phone to her friend and later met with her to discuss the videotape.
But the friend testified that the phone conversation never took place and that Mary Masson never told her about any video showing Mary’s fiance sexually abusing the daughter. The friend testified that she too had left her child alone with Jean-Yves and said,
I would never be so desperate as to leave my daughter with someone I suspected (of child abuse). . . . I don’t recall any incident where she screamed like a blood-curdling scream. It’s not something I would have ever forgotten.
In acquitting Mary Masson, Justice Russell Merredew said,
Notwithstanding Det. James Davies’ healthy skepticism and not without skepticism in my own mind, I cannot find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A 45-year-old Barkhamsted, Connecticut woman was sentenced to 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to a charge of cruelty to persons in the death of her husband.
Nancy Roy was charged for leaving her husband at home on January 11, 2003, when he was either dying or dead, and travelling to Las Vegas for an overnight gambling trip with her boyfriend (the couple were estranged and seeing other people, although they continued to live together and had not divorced). Roy apparently did not notice that her husband had died until the morning after returning from her gambling trip.
Roy told police that her husband wasn’t feeling well when she went to work the morning of January 11, and that she wasn’t suspicious that when she returned from work that he was “sleeping” in the exactly the same position as when she left. She claimed that she thought the foul odor she notice upon returning from Las Vegas was simply her husband’s body odor rather than a decomposing body.
After pleading guilty to cruelty to prisons, Judge Elizabeth Bozzuto told Roy,
You showed a total disregard for the welfare and dignity of another human being and that should not be tolerated in this society.
Roy’s boyfriend, Thomas Caves, told the Hartford Courant that Roy plead guilty in order to get the whole mess behind her.
Glenn Sacks, host of men’s and father’s issues radio talk show His Side, has been leading a campaign the past few weeks against clothing retailers stocking a t-shirt that Sacks argues is hateful toward boys.
The t-shirt, distributed by David and Goliath, shows a picture of a boy fleeing from some airborne rocks with the copy, “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!!!”
Sacks first targeted Bon-Macy’s in a December broadcast in which he said,
As the father of an 11 year-old boy this shirt makes my blood boil….degrading boys, insulting them, making our schools a hostile environment for them–we’re not taking it any more.
After a letter and phone campaign, Bon-Macy’s agreed to stop stocking the shirt. So far, Sacks’ campaign against the t-shirt has also convinced California clothing chain Tilly’s and Universal Studios (which owns Dapy’s) to agree not to carry the t-shirt as well.
On his show announcing Universal’s decision, Sacks said,
It really angers me that our boys have to confront this kind of bigotry. It also angers me that we’re telling girls that it?s OK to hate boys. When males insult females we call it ‘woman-hating’ and ‘misogyny.’ When females insult males, apparently it?s OK. No more.
According to David and Goliath, however, the shirts are one of their most popular sellers.
Frankly, I suspect a campaign against a t-shirt is probably not the best way for people to spend their time. On the other hand, it is surprising to see such a t-shirt stocked by mainstream clothing retailers. Obviously you’re always going to be able to order shirts like this over the Internet or find them in novelty t-shirt shops (you can order both “Girls are stupid” and “Boys are stupid” t-shirts here, for example), but I’m surprised a story like Bon-Macy’s would stock such a shirt.
But some of the rhetoric about the t-shirt is a bit silly. For example, here’s Wendy McElroy writing in support of the campaign,
Hate mongering is a lucrative business and the best remedy is to yank away the financial incentive. Boycott both the manufacturers and the distributors of any product that endorses the hatred or abuse of children, male or female. Tell vendors how you feel; ask “sponsors” like Universal Studios if they guarantee their safety of your son while on their premises.
Right, and lets all write to Universal to complain about that last hate-filled Eminem album or protest comedians who tell sexist jokes. Hey, maybe we should be urging libraries to get rid of their copies of Royce Flippin’s classic, Save an Alligator, Shoot a Preppie. Can libraries guarantee the safety of preppies who wonder down the aisle filled with such hate-filled books?
It’s a stupid t-shirt, not the harbinger of an anti-male Reich.