There is an egregious legal case recently decided in Alabama. In the proceedings, the judge’s findings brought to reality that many states have statutes deemed outdated.
In this particular case, heinous.
Because Alabama is negligent in updating laws, a rapist recently sued for visitation to spend time with children conceived during rape. His request was granted by the court.
Alabama is one of two states that does not offer a law protecting rape victims. Minnesota is the other.
In this case, the young girl was not protected by her family. Or by law. It’s a terrible situation, and it is likely not over.
However, this incident piqued my interest to research antiquated laws. To learn about odd statutes and rules that likely serve no purpose today, and are probably not enforced.
Laws that make you wonder, what are legislators thinking?
Here are a few to consider:
In New Hampshire, in 2017, the legislature passed Senate Bill 66, a vague law which could be interpreted as allowing pregnant women to commit murder without repercussion. The bill was written to allow for abortions, but the language in the original writeup was completely unclear and nonspecific. The New Hampshire legislature has since revised the wording and closed the loophole.
In California, state law protects frogs, but only those participating in frog-jumping contests. The law states a frog that dies during a jumping contest cannot be eaten.
The law may be tied to the Angels Camp, California, Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, an annual community event inspired by Mark Twain. Or so it seems.
Florida continues to argue about whether or not dwarf tossing should be allowed as entertainment in public bars. In 2011, House Bill 4063 was proposed as a way to repeal Florida Statute 561.665 which bans the “exploitation of any person with dwarfism (and dwarf tossing).” Since dwarf tossing was banned in 1989, several lawsuits have since been filed with sole intentions to repeal the ban.
Idaho legislates cannibalism.
Under Title 18, Crimes and Punishment, Section 18-5003, Idaho law defines cannibalism as punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary not to exceed 14 years. It appears punishment for cannibalism differs from murder, as a murder conviction normally means life imprisonment or the death penalty. Idaho’s law also states the act is not punishable if the violation occurs “under extreme life-threatening conditions as the only apparent means of survival.”
In Louisiana, law legislates the cooking methods for preparing jambalaya. According to Statute §4.2, it is okay for jambalaya to be prepared for public consumption in the traditional manner, using iron pots, wood fires and in the open for public gatherings –– this option is not subject to the state sanitary code. Other forms of preparation are subjected to inspection standards and regulations.
In Michigan, a 1931 statute still stipulates adultery is a felony, and if convicted dictates a maximum sentence of four years in prison and $5,000 fine. The law is noted in the Michigan Penal Code 750.30 Adultery. The section reads “any person who shall commit adultery shall be guilty of a felony, and when the crime is committed between a married woman and a man who is unmarried, the man shall be guilty of adultery and liable to the same punishment.”
It is likely the State has a difficult time enforcing the rule.
Mississippi has a law prohibiting profanity.
House Bill No. 359, Section 1, Section 97-29-47, Mississippi Code of 1972, states: “if any person shall profanely swear or curse or use vulgar and indecent language or be drunk in any public place in the presence of two (2) or more persons….on conviction thereof, they will be fined not more than One Hundred Dollars or be imprisoned in the county jail not more than 30 days or both. The ‘anti-cussing’ law was adopted in July 1, 2012.
South Carolina has a morality and decency law that stipulates a male, over the age of 16, who uses marriage to seduce an unmarried woman is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be fined or imprisoned or both. The law falls under South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 16, Crimes and Offenses, Chapter 15, Offenses Against Morality and Decency, Article 1, Miscellaneous Offenses, Section 16-15-10.
A Nevada laws seems odd. NRS 202.245 states “a person shall not operate or maintain any shoe-fitting device or shoe-fitting machine which uses fluoroscopic, x-ray or radiation principles.” The violation is a misdemeanor.
In North Carolina, by law, when a bingo game is sponsored by a commercial company, like a casino, the game may not last more than five hours. But, if the bingo game is operated by a non-profit, there is no time factor and the game may run without restrictions.
In Ohio, law dictates mining companies must provide “an adequate supply of toilet paper for each [miner] toilet.” However, the law doesn’t state what number qualifies as adequate.
In Missouri, if a farmer’s bull runs wild for more than three days, any person may castrate the animal without liability for damage. (Title XVII Agriculture and Animals, Chapter 270, 270.250)
Did you know state legislatures in Vermont, South Dakota and New Hampshire once passed a law requiring margarine to be dyed a bright color of pink?
There is a law in Virginia banning sex between non-married couples. If convicted, the offense is a Class 4 Misdemeanor under Code of Virginia, Title 18.2, Crimes and Offenses, Chapter 8, Morals and Decency, Article 3.
No doubt, legislators have the difficult task of staying abreast of state laws, past and present. To do their job correctly, detailed research is key to understanding the scope and ramifications of every issue.
Maybe this case in Alabama will serve purpose and inspire legislators to scrutinize more diligently.
To be more careful.
To question the constitutionality of their law-making decisions, and how the laws they create or overlook impact courtroom decisions.
In this Alabama case, discrepancy in law has not only impacted the victim, but the victim’s children.