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Friday Roundup

No ifs, ands, or butts.  As trends go, I much -- much -- preferred the miniskirt to the saggy pants look, never having developed an appreciation for male underwear, other than my own.  While this would seem to be a matter for the fashion police, the real police are getting involved now, too; as this story tells us, interim Flint Police Chief David Dicks, apparently still operating under his porn name,

announced that his officers would start arresting people wearing saggy pants that expose skivvies, boxer shorts or bare bottoms.

"Some people call it a fad," Dicks told the Free Press this week while patrolling the streets of Flint. "But I believe it's a national nuisance. It is indecent and thus it is indecent exposure, which has been on the books for years."

On June 27, the chief issued a departmental memorandum telling officers: "This immoral self expression goes beyond freedom of expression."

Dicks has even established a three-level violation system, vaguely reminiscent of, and about as well thought-out as, Roe v. Wade's trimester scheme.  His motives may involve more than simply ridding the city of an eyesore; as the article notes, he claims that "the style also gives police probable cause to search those wearing no-rise jeans."  Not a bad day when a police officer can take out 20% of the Bill of Rights in one fell swoop.

Not-so-unique after all.  Much of forensic science, at least as it's often claimed in the courtroom, is based on the idea of uniqueness:  no two bullets are alike, no two fingerprints are alike, etc.  Scott Henson over at Grits for Breakfast tells us that ain't necessarily so -- the claims cited above have not been scientifically proven -- and points us to an LA Times story which raises some similar questions about DNA, the gold standard of forensic evidence.  Back in 2001, an Arizona state crime analyst found two felons in the FBI database which matched on 9 of the 13 locations of chromosomes normally used for identification.  According to the FBI, the chances of that happening are 1 in 113 billion.  The analyst found dozens more examples.  The FBI claims the whole thing is meaningless, but this is a story to follow.  You might also want to check out Henson's links to the claims regarding fingerprint and bullet testing.

Bullshit lawsuit of the week.  When disbarred New York lawyer James Colliton was accused of sleeping with three underage teenage girls, instead of cutting a rap record, he went on the lam.  Visa may be everywhere you want to be, but there's a few stores in Canada that apparently take American Express, too, and that's what Colliton used.  Amex turned the information over to cops, and they used that to track him down.  He's doing 19 months for the three statutory rapes, and he's just sued Amex for $4 million, claiming they violated their terms of agreement regarding disclosure to third parties by ratting him out. 

Bullshit lawsuit of 1884.  A hat tip to the Volokh Conspiracy for digging up the fact that in a lawsuit filed 124 years ago in Montreal, some guy named Lebeau sued some guy named Turcot.  Seems that Turcot was taking the collection in church, and passed Lebeau by, with the alleged goal of insulting and humiliating him.  Lebeau figured that $199 would render him whole.  Don't know what the exchange rate was back then...

See you on Monday.

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