In 1971, a thief broke into a house and was shot in the legs by a trap set up by the homeowner. The thief then sued for damages–and won.
In 1818, an Englishman was accused of murder claimed the right to trial by combat. To everyone’s surprise, the law granting him that right was still valid, and he was acquitted when his accuser declined to appear on the “field of honor.” Trial by combat was abolished the next year.
A homeless man stole 4 cookies from a restaurant in California and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under a 3 strikes law. The man later killed himself to avoid prison.
Under Indonesian labor law, women “are not obliged to come to work on the first and second day of menstruation”
A Massachusetts court ruled that a sandwich must contain two slices of bread, thus legally barring tacos, burritos, and quesadillas from being called “sandwiches.”
In 1971, a woman petitioned a Judge for permission to sterilize her “somewhat retarded” daughter. Without a hearing, evidence, or representation for the daughter, the judge granted permission. The daughter later tried to sue the judge, but the Supreme Court voted 5-3 to grant the judge immunity.
A quadriplegic man was sentenced to 10 days in jail for a first time offense of possession of marijuana, despite the prison not having sufficient medical equipment for him. The 27 year-old died after four days in custody.
The 1992 comedy “My Cousin Vinny” is so well regarded in the US legal community that it is frequently used in law schools to demonstrate courtroom procedures such as voire dire and cross examination.
In 2004, 200 women took law in their own hands and came to the court armed with vegetable knives and chilli powder and murdered on the court floor a serial rapist. Then every woman claimed responsibility for the murder.
Serial Killer Genene Jones, who was suspected to have murdered up to 50 children, will be released in five years, serving only a third of her sentence, due to an old Texas law.
A man with no prior criminal record is serving a 55 year prison sentence for trying to sell $350 worth of marijuana while wearing a gun on his body, mainly due to mandatory minimum sentences.
In the state of Louisiana, you are guilty until proven innocent.
South African residents can legally attach small flamethrowers to cars to repel carjackers.
Jehovah’s Witnesses were persecuted and lynched for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance in the 1940s.
There is a convicted cannibal (Issei Sagawa) living as a free man in Japan due to a loophole in the law.