Our justice system allows for a lot of great things. It can ensure that a crooked CEO gets his comeuppance. It can ensure that everyone (mostly) gets the same treatment when charged with a crime.
It also permits morons to sue cats. That's less inspiring.
7"A Monkey Charged with Assault"
Sometimes journalists who originally reported some of the stories we discuss unintentionally write funnier descriptions then we could ever hope to write. This is particularly true when it comes to an archived New York Times story from November 29, 1877, regarding an altercation between a woman named Mary, a monkey named Jimmy and their ensuing court case.
Bottle-Alley, a place the New York Times described as an area where "personal misunderstandings" between "Italian noblemen" are "settled" with "their favorite weapon, the stiletto," was home to a street minstrel named Cassio Dillio, an organ grinder with a "large specimen of the monkey tribe" named Jimmy by his side. One day, as Cassio grinded his crank and Jimmy danced a jig, a "Robust daughter of the Emerald isle," Mary Shea, decided to give little Jimmy a piece of candy as a token of appreciation. Once Jimmy began to chow-down on some sweet nectar, Mary tried to have a little fun with him by snatching the candy from Jimmy's mouth. Jimmy "thereupon assumed a decidedly aggressive attitude" and bit Mary's finger. Cassio and Jimmy were arrested and to court the case went.
Upon hearing the case the judge stated, "If Mr. Darwin were prosecutor in this case, he might succeed in convincing me that the statues authorize the holding of criminal monkeys, but I do not think I can legally commit him." Miss Shea protested, but to no avail. Jimmy removed his velvet hat, climbed atop the judge's desk and attempted to shake his hand. And, although we couldn't find an official document to back this up, it is reported that the official police blotter for the case read: "Name: Jimmy Dillio; Occupation: Monkey; Disposition: Discharged."
6Leeches Go to Ecclesiastical Court
If history has taught us anything it's that there is a reason for that whole separation of church and state thing. If you give the church too much power of attorney they can go ape shit and sue bed posts for toe stubbings or--somehow more realistically--leeches for infesting a Swiss pond.
In 1451, some leeches were in a pond near Lausanne, Switzerland. Some guy thought there were too many leeches in this pond. The local Bishop took the pond leeches to court on the count of there being too many leeches in the pond. No, this is not a list about the five most awesome things you can do after massive cerebral hemorrhaging.
When it comes to most Ecclesiastical court cases against animals (and there are quite a few) it isn't usually customary for the offending animals to be present for the silly proceedings. Yet, the Bishop was instructed to bring the slimy creatures in to the local magistracy so that they can hear the notice they were being served.
"Will the defendant, uh... stop doing that?"
The leeches were gathered in a pile before the court and were told they had three days to leave the area. We can only hope that after said ruling was announced, the leeches simply slithered stupidly in place in fierce defiance of the law like a bunch of invertebrate James Deans, effectively enraging the court. In truth, the leeches did not respond, nor comply with the court's demand because leeches, from any region of the world, always and only speak leech. We're not even sure if they have ears.
"You're tearing me apart!"
The initial threat in the case of God v. Leeches, for some reason, didn't work. The court responded in kind by taking another course of logical legal action: they performed an exorcism on the leeches. Apparently, this worked. Granted, the leeches didn't pack their shit and proclaim "Fuck Switzerland!" as much as they just kind of died, or, as we're sure the Ecclesiastical court probably likes to remember it, "exorcised until complete and utter fucking annihilation."