Category Archives: Law

Police Officer Dressed as Grinch Hands Out Onions

Some things are so surreal you need to see it to believe it:


For twelve years Chief Lou Caputo from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Bureau has been dressing as the Grinch.  When he catches someone going up to five miles an hour faster than the speed limit in the school zone in front of the Marathon, Florida Stanley Switlik elementary school, he offers them a choice of receiving an onion or a ticket.

Apparently, only nine out of ten drivers choose the onion instead of a ticket.  We have no idea what the one out of ten drivers is thinking when deciding to be ticketed.

Maybe it is because of the stench.  Caputo doesn’t hand out fresh onions to be used for dinner.  Instead, he pokes holes in the onions and lets them sit for a month.  By the time he hands them out they are very stinky.  Want you car to smell like onions?

When someone is caught speeding a uniformed police officer pulls over the driver.  After running a quick check on the car, Caputo then emerges as the Grinch to surprise the driver and offer them the onion deal.


Can the Grinch Sue for Defamation?

Consider all the horrible things said about the poor Grinch.  Does he have a case for libel and defamation if he should consult with any attorney?

Here are some of the questions posed by lawyer turned writer Linda Holmes:

Potentially defamatory statements

We will first take some of the statements you mention in turn to explain their possible relevance to a successful claim.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch

Under the laws of defamation in effect in Whoville, this would most likely be considered a statement of opinion and not actionable.

You really are a heel

Also opinion. Generally under Whoville law, successful defamation claims arise from statements of fact.

You can read the rest of her analysis of the Grinch at a blog post made at NPR.  In the end, Ms. Holmes decides it would not be prudent to pursue a defamation claim.  But she leaves open the question of whether the Grinch may have a malpractice claim against the doctor who implanted the metal frame in his chest which broke when his heart suddenly went from being too small to extra large.

List of Laws Broken by the Grinch

When the Grinch was trying to steal Christmas from the Whos, he broke a number of laws.  Bad Grinch!

Burglary – The Grinch broke into many homes by coming down the chimney to steal their trees and presents.

Theft – The Grinch stole a lot of stuff, even when he was not breaking into homes.

Conversion – Theft is a criminal claim.  Conversion is the civil claim for the Whos to file to get paid for the lost and broken toys.

Trespass – The Whos did not give the Grinch permission to come into the homes and property.

Fraud – The meanie lied to little Cindy Lou Who about what he was doing with her trees and presents.

Battery – For touching Cindy Lou before sending her off to bed.

Animal Abuse – Putting antlers on poor little Max and making him pull a huge sleigh full of presents, up to Mount Crumpit in the snow, surely counts as abusive behavior by a dog owner.

Speeding – As the Grinch rocketed down Mount Crumpit he exceeded the safe speed limit for sleighs.

Driving Without a License – We will assume Whoville did not issue a license for Mr. Grinch to be driving his sleigh through town.

Hate Crimes – For committing wrongs against the Whos because of their religious celebration of Christmas.

Impersonation – For pretending to be Santa Claus.

Due to the dozens of counts of burglary alone, we expect the Grinch to spend a long time in jail re-thinking his actions.

Got some more laws he broke?  Let us know!