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In September, Joseph C. Clemons, 26, housed in a courthouse cell in Fredericksburg, Virginia, pending a court appearance for breaking into a motel, pried open the cell door, walked down a hallway and past guards at the front door, and escaped wearing leg irons. (He was not discovered missing until a local citizen called police to report a man walking down the street wearing shackles.)

Court Reporter

A judge in Genoa, Italy, sentenced notorious 22-year-old soccer rabble-rouser Claudio Pianura to "silence" during the World Cup matches in May. He was not to meet in public or private with groups of more than three and was not to talk with anyone about soccer until July 8.

Kelly Lee Hardyman, 20, pleaded guilty in May to breaking into a home in Gainesville, Florida. He was caught when the owner returned to find him entranced, playing the family's Nintendo game.

In April in Granada, Spain, Judge Eduardo Rodriguez ruled that Jesus Christ was innocent of the charges that sent him to death in Galilee, finding that Jesus suffered "significant" violations of due process of law, especially the absence of a defender.

The Idaho Court of Appeals granted a partial victory in March to a man charged with masturbating in a public rest room, remanding the case to the trial court to determine whether an undercover police officer had violated the man's right to privacy by peering into a rest room stall. The defendant's name: Dale D. Limberhand.

District judge Brigita Volopichova, 27, of Pizen, Czechoslovakia, was recently disciplined by legal authorities for bringing "disgrace" to judges by entering a televised "Miss Topless" event. She came in second.

A judge in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, recently awarded two rape victims damages from their assailant based on $50 per day each for the rest of their lives. Nine other victims of the man have a lawsuit pending against him for a total of $52 million. However, the man's earning capacity is limited; he is serving the next 1,449 to 3,195 years in prison.

Least Competent People

Joseph T. Hill, convicted in August in Orlando, Florida, of counterfeiting, faces up to 20 years in prison. Among his work were several million Polish zlotys, worth only about $300. Said a Secret Service agent, "He could have printed a boxcar full of them and not have enough to buy an expensive suit."

Brian Richard Hoy was sentenced in Edmonton, Alberta, in July for a 1977 conviction for extortion after 13 years on the lam in the United States. Hoy's scheme was to spring from a closet while his associate, a prostitute, had a client in a compromising position. Hoy would take a photo and sell the negative for $10,000. In the episode that led to conviction, Hoy's victim had negotiated the amount down to $125, convinced Hoy to take a check, and postdated the check to facilitate Hoy's capture.

Todd Graham, 22, was arrested in March by police in Columbus, Ohio, as he hopped a transit bus to escape the scene of a bank robbery. Police were ready because it was the third time that week that Graham had robbed the same branch bank.

Oklahoma officials initiated criminal proceedings recently against Fitzgerald, DeArman, and Roberts, a Tulsa firm that managed to persuade investors to buy 39 million shares, at $2 to $8 per share, in their venture to convert "black Costa Rican beach sand" into gold. At least one investor put in his entire life savings.

Two teenagers suspected of burglary were apprehended in August in Red Wing, Minnesota, after attempting to swim away from police. They quickly returned to shore because they were not good swimmers, especially with the $25 worth of coins each had in his pocket.

Two men serving two-to-five-year sentences escaped from the Chester County, Pennsylvania, Work Release Center in July. One was to have been released three days later.

From the Wichita Eagle crime column, April 11: A man walked into a gas station and laid $2 on the counter for cigarettes. While the attendant turned to get the cigarettes, the man reached into the cash register, took the entire paper contents, and fled. To the best of the attendant's recollection, there was a $1 bill on top of the paper compartment and only several scraps of paper underneath. The man left the $2 on the counter.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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