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."