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News of the Weird
 

Compelling Explanations


October 28th, 2010

Raymond Roberts, 25, was arrested in Manatee County, Fla., in September after an ordinary traffic stop turned up a strong smell of marijuana.

Maybe Just Safekeeping It for a Friend: Raymond Roberts, 25, was arrested in Manatee County, Fla., in September after an ordinary traffic stop turned up a strong smell of marijuana. At deputies' behest, Roberts removed a baggie of marijuana from his buttocks, but when the deputies saw another plastic bag right behind it (containing a white substance believed to be cocaine), Roberts said, "The weed is (mine)," but "(t)he white stuff is not ...."

Firefighter Richard Gawlik Jr. was terminated by Allentown, Pa., in August for abusing sick leave after he posted his daily golf scores on a public website during three days in which he had called off from work. Allentown firefighters' contract allows them up to four consecutive days' sick leave without a doctor's note, and given their shift schedule of four days on, four days off, a four-day, undocumented sick call effectively means a 12-day holiday, a pattern that describes 60 percent of all firefighter "sick" days, according to an analysis by the Allentown Morning Call. (Gawlik's union president said the union would appeal and that "playing golf was well within the guidelines of (Gawlik's illness).")

Woody Will Smith, 33, was convicted in September of murdering his wife after a jury in Dayton, Ky., "deliberated" about 90 minutes before rejecting his defense of caffeine intoxication. Smith had claimed that his daily intake of sodas, energy drinks and diet pills had made him temporarily insane when he strangled his two-timing wife with an extension cord in 2009, and made him again not responsible when he confessed the crime to police. (In May 2010, a judge in Pullman, Wash., ordered a hit-and-run driver to treatment instead of jail, based on the driver's "caffeine psychosis." Some doctors believe the condition can kick in with as little as 400 mg of caffeine daily an amount that, given America's coffee consumption, potentially portends a sky-high murder rate.)

An Iowa administrative law judge ruled in September that former police officer William Bowker of Fort Madison deserved worker's compensation even though he had not been "laid off" but rather fired for having an affair with the wife of the chief of police. Although the city Civil Service Commission had denied him coverage (based in part on other derelictions, such as sleeping and drinking on duty and refusing to attend a class on search warrants), the judge ruled that Bowker's dismissal seemed too much like improper retaliation for the affair.
 
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