In September, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery concluded that records of an investigation need not be released to the Memphis City Council — because there was no comma. The law requires the records' release "only in compliance with a subpoena or an order of a court." Slatery said if there had been a comma after "subpoena," a council subpoena would get the records, but without the comma, only court subpoenas. And in July, Andrea Cammelleri prevailed on her parking ticket challenge because there was no comma. A West Jefferson, Ohio, ordinance banned parking of any "motor vehicle camper, trailer." A state appeals judge ruled that, with a comma after "vehicle," Cammelleri's truck would have been banned, but without it, only campers and trailers were.
Great moments in gerrymandering
In April, the City Council of Columbia, Mo., rigged a specially drawn "Community Improvement District" to pass a sales tax increase. Under the law, if the district had no "residents" to vote, the "election" would be decided by the tax-friendly business owners. However, the council somehow missed that college student Jen Henderson, 23, actually lived there and had registered to vote, meaning the business owners could not vote and that the tax increase would be decided by … Henderson. (In late August, the council "postponed" the election and at press time were in a quandary, as Henderson said she's against higher taxes.)
The continuing crisis
A teenage girl in Wyandotte, Mich., using $9.95 products from a website called FakeABaby.com, pretended for months to be pregnant (with abdomen extenders and ultrasound photos of her "triplets"). She received gifts, had a baby shower, joined expectant mother groups and even frightened her 16-year-old boyfriend enough that he began looking for full-time work to feed the soon-due "babies." However (obviously), the ruse fell apart in the 10th month (in August), drawing community outrage, but according to the sheriff, none of the "victims" who were fooled have come forward to press fraud charges.
Failure to keep a low profile
Maurice Stewart, 22, on the lam since November while wanted for armed robbery in Cleveland, Ohio, was arrested in August when police spotted a man matching his description — notably, his one-of-a-kind tattoo of a semiautomatic rifle just below his right eye.
Read News of the Weird daily at www.weirduniverse.net. Send items to firstname.lastname@example.org.