Legal Humour Blog


October 2013

No Lethal Injection for You

Oct 13, 2013 11:44 AM
Marcel Strigberger

Here is a twist. In Salem, Oregon, a Gary Haugen as sentenced to be executed for a 1981 murder. And while waiting for this execution, he killed an inmate in 2003.  A month or so before the due date, the current state Governor, John Kithaber, a former practicing emergency doctor, who loathes capital punishment reprieved all on death row.

Now here is the crunch.   Gary Haugen wants to get executed.  In fact he brought an application to the courts to overturn the reprieve. The lower court granted his application and he was all set to enjoy his last meal.  

But hold the champagne.  To Gary’s chagrin,  the prosecution appealed this decision and the state’s appeal court reversed the lower court ruling saying Haugen cannot refuse the reprieve.

I don’t know what kind of lawyer Haugen hired. Obviously the lawyer was disappointed with the result.  How did he report to his client?

    “  Dear Mr Haugen

                  " I am sorry to advise you the Oregon Supreme Court has allowed the appeal of the People of Oregon.   It is with great sadness that I announce to you that you are    not going to be executed.  As you know I did try my best.  My record of losses until now in this kind of case was nil. I have had a number of my clients get the death sentence but unfortunately in this case my streak ended.
                  Do you want to consider an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The justices there are a rather conservative bunch and you might get lucky.  I can try to convince them that to live is a cruel and unusual punishment.”

I feel sorry for the lawyer. When asked if he was getting paid for this case he responded, “Only over my client’s dead body. “


I practice personal injury/insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com . I can proudly say I never lost one client to a lethal injection.


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September 2013

Quebec Charter of Values- First Judicial Decision

Sep 22, 2013 10:49 PM
Marcel Strigberger

The province of Quebec is buzzing with its proposed Charter of Values, wherein public servants will be prohibited from wearing ostentatious religious symbols such as crucifixes, and head covers, including the hijab, kippa etc.

The Minister in charge of implementing this brilliant law is Bernard Drainville, whose ministry is actually called the Ministry of Democratic Institutions. 

This Charter is designed supposedly to protect Quebec culture and keep public matters secular.  But as these things usually go, they can become more extensive and far reaching.  It will not be too long before we see the following legal decision:

Le Juge J.

This matter arises out of a charge against Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, aka The Cathedral of Montreal. The Cathedral is charged with contravening section 23(7) of the Charter of Values by sporting a dome resembling an oversized kippa.

The section reads:

        “No structure, waterway or other public place will hold, carry or have affixed to it any ostentatious religious symbol. Contravention of this section is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 2 years less one day.”

By way of background the Charter of Values, was proclaimed in 2013.  Since then the Quebec Ministry of Democratic Institutions sought ways to improve on the Charter and it legislated amendments, including section 23(7) proclaimed about a year ago.

The amendments make the offender itself liable for any violations.

The trial of this matter took 2 days. 

Charter of Values constable Jean-Pierre Poutine testified that he was cruising along Boulevard Rene Levesque near Avenue de Cathedrale when on the evening of December 12, he noticed something suspicious, to wit, a large structure resembling a church but covered with a huge kippa, about 150 feet high and 100 feet in diameter.

He immediately stopped his police car and walked over to the accused.

He testified that he told the cathedral to remove its head covering.  The accused just stood there, refusing to obey his order. He advises that he felt threatened and so he proceeded to taser it.

As the accused still did not respond, Constable Poutine handcuffed the suspect by clamping the cuffs around its front door handles.

He read the requisite police caution: “You’re under arrest, Tabarnak”.

After a two-day trial I found the accused guilty as charged. The Court did not accept as a defence that the accused is an exact replica, 50% in size, of St. Peter’s Church in Rome. The law is clear. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. But this is Quebec. We know better.

I shall now deal with sentencing.

It should be noted that the accused has a previous record, having been convicted of this same offense less than one year ago.  At that time, its lawyer, Me Marc Lenoix advised that his client promised to remove the offending dome and replace it with a less conspicuous cloth kippa  measuring in diameter about 6 inches. Based on this undertaking, this Court granted the accused a suspended sentence.. 

Unfortunately the accused continues to offend the Charter. In sentencing, a primary objective is general deterrence. The Court must send out a message to other potential violators that our society will not tolerate a mockery of the law.  If we allow this act to go unpunished , it will not be too long before we see a 500 foot high turban floating on the St Lawrence River.

The accused has shown no remorse. I sentence it to serve the maximum custodial jail sentence of two years less a day years in jail.

Constables, take the convict into custody.


While thinking about potential interesting clients such as churches, mountains and rivers, I practice personal injury and family law. Please visit  www.striglaw.com .


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The IKEA Monkey- Final Chapter

Sep 15, 2013 5:32 PM
Marcel Strigberger

       On or about December 9th 2012 Darwin, a pet monkey dressed in a little fur vest and pair of trousers, and belonging to Toronto lawyer Jasmin Nakhuda, escaped from her car parked at an IKEA parking lot, and sauntered into IKEA to the surprise of staff and shoppers.  Authorities were summoned and Animal Services took Darwin into custody.  From that day on, stories of the legal battle to determine who gets the monkey back have been making front row center appearances in the media around the globe.

    The matter has finally ended with Superior Court Justice Vallee rejecting Nakhuda’s claims that the monkey was like her child and stating that the monkey was a chattel, rightly now owned by “Story Book Farm”, a local animal sanctuary, where Darwin was placed. It should be noted that Ms Nakhuda signed a surrender form relinquishing ownership, though she claimed later she did not understand the consequences.

    In short the judge found that possession of a monkey is 9 tenths of the law.  

    A few lessons emerge from this case.

    Firstly, never leave your wild animals alone in the car when you go shopping.  If for example you just have to get some Rice Crispies at your local Walmart and you take you pet elephant along for the ride, bring Babar into the store.  One thing for certain, those Walmart greeters will accord him their usual sincere greeting without batting an eyelash.  

    Secondly, never sign away ownership on the spur of the moment of any animal.  Possession is indeed 9 tenths of the law.  If therefore Animal Services ever grabs your giraffe, call a lawyer immediately.  I for one have extensive experience in these cases having saved many pet owners from losing their rhinoceroses, anteaters and hyenas.  In fact, as we speak, I have to return the call of a client who was just shopping at Price Chopper when authorities arrested Harry, her hippo.

    Finally, what I learned is that it only took about 9 months for this case to go through the courts, endingwith a grand finale 4 day trial. This is much quicker service by the courts than a family law child custody case would receive.  I don’t know how the lawyers achieved resolution with such dispatch.  Maybe in future when I start a family law case, I’ll use catchy names in the title of proceedings, like Re Dumbo.  

       It baffles me totally how they pulled it off. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

       I practice personal injury and insurance and family law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com .  As I said, please keep a close watch on your lions and tigers and bears. If authorities should nab them, call me, not some real estate or tax lawyer.


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Sourtoe Cocktail? Not Quite Rum and Coke

Sep 2, 2013 12:28 PM
Marcel Strigberger

       Just when you thought you have seen it all, here is a story about a bar in the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon that serves a unique product: the “sourtoe cocktail”. It involves drinking a shot of Yukon Jack liquor in a glass containing a floating, real human toe.  The toe has been preserved for about 40 years during which about 60,000 customers have paid for the privilege of buying the drink where they must  touch the toe with their lips.  The hotel then issues them a certificate confirming membership in the exclusive Sourtoe Club.  I guess other folks have to resign themselves to just being members of Mensa.

      What happened recently though is an American visitor, one Josh Clark, actually swallowed the toe, deliberately.  The posted penalty for swallowing the toe is $500.00 cash which Josh immediately plunked down, using his intended rent deposit.  The establishment has now upped the fine to $2500.00

       A number of potential legal issues surface here.  One is, what if Josh Clark would have refused to pay the fine?  If he wanted he could just have quietly tip toed out (sorry!). Would they have sued him in Small Claims Court?  The statement of claim certainly would have been refreshingly different:

                    ..."On or about August 15th 2013 the defendant drank a toe belonging to the plaintiff hotel.”

       For that matter does the act leave Josh Clark open to some criminal charges?  Maybe. Perhaps the Dawson police missed something. Maybe they just were not on their toes. (Sorry again!)
       The good news is the hotel happens to have a stand by extra toe. The tradition can continue although they are asking for a donation of a back up digit. Good luck.  I just did quick search and I did not see any toes for sale on eBay. And I doubt that Craig will part with any of his.

        I don’t know if there will be any volunteers but I would get very suspicious as to the source of same if a new toe was suddenly delivered by Josh Clark.  Just the thought of it makes my toes curl. ( No apologies. It’s true!).


I practice family and personal injury and insurance law.  Please visit www.striglaw.com. My aim is to resolve all cases amicably, avoiding acrimonious and costly litigation.  In short, I go out of my way not to step on any toes. ( no apologies. it's very true.)


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August 2013

Vanishing School Supplies

Aug 27, 2013 8:58 PM
Marcel Strigberger

There ought to be a law against August ads for school supplies. Come August you cannot visit a store without running a gauntlet of “back to school” stuff. This phenomenon creates kiddy school supply junkies.

After all, just weeks earlier in June, the kids finished school with all their supplies. What happened to all their stuff?  Did it all suddenly vanish over July?

While sitting my neighbour’s deck recently sipping an ice tea, Leo’s kids were hounding him for must have school supplies.

His daughter Melissa demanded if he had bought her new school knapsack yet.

Leo asked her whether the Elmo knapsack he had tripped over in June was still around? .

Melissa replied, “But I need one with Spiderman. That’s only fair.”

Her comment I thought certainly added a new dimension to the fairness test.

Meanwhile his son Josh pleaded that he absolutely needed to buy a dozen red pens. When Leo queried where Josh’s June stash was, Josh responded, “Dad, you just don’t understand.” 

Melissa, interrupting, said, “If you get him more pens, you have to get me that Spiderman knapsack.  That’s only reasonable”.

Her argument was unassailable I thought.

During their heated debate, my mind drifted, visualizing research on the subject, like a study undertaken by a professor Jean-Jacques Lemouche, of l’Université de Montreal, who found that pencils do indeed disappear. He was adamant that three boxes of his former pencils had turned into butterflies on July 1 and they were now flying around this summer all over Mount Royal.

Oxford Professor of metaphysics, Sir James Pedley, disagreed with the butterfly theory.  His study concluded that every summer, all supplies simply get sucked into a school-supply Bermuda Triangle.

The issue also caught the attention of Sigmund Freud, who observed that most of his patients were very depressed at the end of summer, as they could never find a pen or a pad of paper.  Although he initially dismissed this neurosis, Freud noted that his own lunch box disappeared every July.

Even Albert Einstein was plagued by this problem.  He ran around frantically one August day repeating to himself, “E=MC@” and shouting, “Quick, I need a pencil.  Where is the pencil cup I had in June?”

I went home and thought about writing to my MPP about these ads, which incite the kids.

But just to hedge my bets, next summer, I am keeping an extra eye open on my own pencil cup.


Please visit www.striglaw.com .  I practice family and personal injury and insurance law. We do a great job but we are not responsible for any pens, notepads or umbrellas that may disappear in our office.


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The Midwest Book Review has referred to Marcel Strigberger as "an irrepressible humorist with a story teller’s flair for spinning a yarn with true (and hysterically funny) insights into the basics of human nature".

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