Posts Tagged ‘weird Florida laws’

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That’s A Crime?–Simulated Bullfights

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

This is Part 5, and the final post, in a series of blogs related to obscure and perhaps unknown Florida criminal laws.

In Florida, it is illegal to conduct a simulated bullfight.

Fla. Stat. 828.121 reads:  It shall be unlawful, and punishable as a misdemeanor, for any person to conduct or engage in a simulated or bloodless bullfighting exhibition.

Background:

A Westlaw search revealed no case law citing this statute.

Possible Legal Issues:

  • Note the penalty for this charge is classified as a “misdemeanor”, without clarifying whether it’s a first degree or second degree charge.
  • The statute does not say whether the bull has to be a real animal.  Would it apply to someone dressed in a bull costume?
  • How far does one have to go to have a “simulated” bullfight exhibition?  Is it enough to wave a red flag at a real or fake bull?  Is a crowd necessary?

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That’s A Crime?–Fake Florida Oranges

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Is it possible to determine WHERE these oranges came from?

 

 

 

 

This is Part 4 in a series dedicated to obscure and unusual Florida criminal laws.

In Florida, the message is clear and simple: don’t mess with our oranges.  Florida statute 865.02 says:

Whoever ships foreign-grown fruit or oranges, representing by mark or otherwise that said fruit is the product of the state, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

That’s right, if a person picks an orange in Georgia and then ships it out with a stamp indicating the orange is from Florida, that person has just committed a crime punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.

Background

This statute became a law in 1883 and was last revised in 1971.

Application

A Westlaw search indicated no case history citing this statute.

Possible Noteworthy Issues

  • This law has to make one wonder, unless the suspect admitted that the oranges came from out-of-state, how would the authorities know with certainty where the oranges came from?  Is it possible for a fruit expert to examine an orange and determine that the orange did/did not come from Florida?  (If the only way the authorities determine the oranges came from out-of-state is from the suspect’s statements, would the state be able to get past a corpus challenge?
  • Jurisdiction:  Assume the oranges were picked in California, stamped with the Florida-grown stamp, and then shipped to Texas to sell.  How would Florida obtain jurisdiction?  Since there is no guidance in the statute, the law seems to strike against traditional notions of jurisdiction.  Unless the oranges were actually brought to or through Florida, proving jurisdiction may be difficult for the state.
  • The statute does not apply only to oranges, but also applies to “fruit” (leaving the door open for strawberries, blueberries, and any other fruit…).

In the end, this is what we know: Florida really loves its oranges…er, fruit.

(Disclaimer: This post is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

That’s A Crime?–Injuring Railroad Structures; Driving Cattle on Tracks

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

This is Part 3 in a series of posts devoted to obscure and perhaps unknown Florida criminal laws.

 

Ever wondered about the ramifications of driving cattle onto train tracks in Florida?  Me either.  But now that we’re talking about it, go check out Fla. Stat. 860.11. The statute states:

Whoever otherwise wantonly or maliciously injures any bridge, trestle, culvert, cattle guard, or other superstructure of any railroad company or salts the track of any railroad company for the purpose of attracting cattle thereto, or who shall drive cattle thereon, shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

It cannot be emphasized enough that this crime is a second degree felony, which means the maximum penalty is up to 15 years in prison.

Background

This statute became law back in 1881, and was last revised in 1971.

Application

A search in Westlaw indicated no case law history citing this statute.

Resources

  • Click here to read an interesting article discussing this statute as well as a few other weird Florida laws.
  • Although this law may seem a bit unusual, here’s why it may just be a good idea to have this type of law in rural areas containing livestock.  This tragedy happened in Ohio in 2010.

(Disclaimer: This post is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

That’s A Crime?–Willfully Damaging Art Works in Public Buildings

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

This is Part 2 in a series of blogs dedicated to obscure and perhaps unknown criminal laws in Florida.

Let me ask you something, what is not art?  ~Author Unknown

Today’s post deals with willfully damaging works of art in Florida.  Although perhaps it is not a surprise that damaging art constitutes a crime, most folks might think the crime would fall under Criminal Mischief.  But did you know there is actually a Florida statute that directly deals with willfully damaging art works in public buildings?

The statute can be found at 806.14 (Fla. Stat.), and states:

(1) Whoever willfully destroys, mutilates, defaces, injures, or, without authority, removes any work of art displayed in a public building is guilty of a criminal offense.
(2)(a) If the damage to the work of art is such that the cost of restoration, in labor and supplies, or if the replacement value, is $200 or less, the offense is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) If the damage to the work of art is such that the cost of restoration, in labor and supplies, or if the replacement value, is greater than $200 but less than $1,000, the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(c) If the damage to the work of art is such that the cost of restoration, in labor and supplies, or if the replacement value, is $1,000 or more, the offense is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

 

Background

This statute first became law in 1980, and was last amended in 1991.

Application

While researching this statute in Westlaw, no case law history emerged.

Possible defenses

While there is no case law to support my argument, there may be several defenses to this charge:

  • The damage to the art was not done willfully.
  • The building was not a public building.
  • The damaged product was not art.

Of all three defenses, the third is perhaps the most interesting, because as the introductory quote to this blog suggests, what is NOT art?  What if the damaged property was a clock?  Is a clock art?  Not surprisingly, there is no definition of “art” in the statute.

(Disclaimer:  This blog is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

That’s A Crime?–Advertising Drugs, etc., for Abortion

Monday, July 18th, 2011

This blog is the first in a series dedicated to obscure and perhaps unknown Florida criminal laws.

Did you know it is illegal in Florida to advertise for abortion?  The statute is 797.02 (Fla. Stat.), which states:

Whoever knowingly advertises, prints, publishes, distributes or circulates, or knowingly causes to be advertised, printed, published, distributed or circulated, any pamphlet, printed paper, book, newspaper notice, advertisement, or reference containing words or language giving or conveying any notice, hint, or reference to any person, or the name of any person, real or fictitious, from whom, or to any place, house, shop, or office where any poison, drug, mixture, preparation, medicine, or noxious thing, or any instrument or means whatever, or any advice, direction, information, or knowledge may be obtained for the purpose of causing or procuring the miscarriage of any woman pregnant with child, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

The legislature deemed this crime to be a first degree misdemeanor, which means it carries a maximum penalty of 1 year in county jail and/or $1,000.00 fine.

Background

Interestingly, this law first took effect in 1868.  It’s gone through several amendments, the last of which occurred in 1971, and has once again fallen under the eye of the legislature.  In fact, there are current attempts being made to repeal or modify this Florida law.  (To see the Senate Bill 1748 proposing repeal, go here.)

Application

While researching this statute in Westlaw, I learned that the law has not been applied in state court decisions, at least not at the appellate level.  However, when exploring the internet trying to find when/where this law has been applied, I did find this.

(Disclaimer: This blog is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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