Legally Speaking: It seemed like a good idea at the time

John G. Browning Aug. 21, 2012, 3:26am

The civil and criminal justice systems are full of people who probably wish they could go back in time and change that one crucial moment when they made a snap decision they would come to regret.

Hindsight really can be 20/20 if you're one of these people.

Adding Insult to Injury

Sixty-three year-old Florida airboat captain Wallace Weatherholt probably wishes he had done things differently on June 12. While giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades, Weatherholt wanted to give the tourists something memorable to see—and he did.

As he dangled a fish over the side of the boat, with his hand at the water's surface, Weatherholt was attacked by a 9-foot alligator that bit off his hand.

Florida wildlife officers caught and killed the gator, and even recovered the hand; alas, it could not be reattached. Unfortunately for the now one-handed Weatherholt, authorities added insult to injury by charging him with unlawful feeding of an alligator (a second degree misdemeanor in Florida).

Let's give the poor guy a hand, shall we?

Be Careful What You Wish For

Virginia lawyer Joseph Flood probably wishes he had a "do-over" moment before an Aug. 1 competency hearing for the client he was representing in a triple homicide capital case.

Twenty-five-year-old Rashad Riddick was "visibly agitated" during the hearing as his mental health and competency to stand trial were being discussed, but Flood had requested that his client not be put in any restraints.

As it turns out, that wasn't such a good idea. Riddick attacked his lawyer, knocking over the counsel table and punching Flood repeatedly in the jaw and torso. It probably comes as no surprise that at all future hearings, Riddick will be in full restraints.

Flood, however, found a silver lining. The assault, he said, illustrated "perhaps better than any argument I can make in court" that Riddick "has serious mental health issues."

Reenactment Gone Wrong

Fifty-eight-year-old Claudia Ambroziak is no doubt having second thoughts about how she handled her recent domestic violence complaint against her husband. When police in Port Orange, Fla., appeared on the scene, they questioned both spouses and asked Mrs. Ambroziak to demonstrate how her husband had allegedly choked her. She jumped off the couch and proceeded to demonstrate—on the officer. She has now been charged with domestic battery and assaulting an officer.

Have a Guilty Conscience? Consult a Lawyer First

Former high school teacher Donald Ingerson of St. Louis, Mo., needed to clear his guilty conscience. Believing that the statute of limitations had long since run, Ingerson recently walked into the county prosecutor's office to "discuss" having assaulted a 16-year-old female student in 1974 and a 15 year-old student in 1995.

Unfortunately for Ingerson, Missouri's criminal statute of limitations doesn't expire until 30 years after the victim reaches the age of 18 (and if force was involved, there is no limitations period). Ingerson was taken into custody and will be prosecuted for both crimes. And he apparently was clueless about the consequences of his out-of-the-blue decision to confess. County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch says "His car is probably still out there in the parking lot."

Settlement Celebration Leads to New Lawsuit

You could almost see this one coming. In August 2009, 30-year-old Bryan Lee Glenn—a former Mississippi resident who had left the state after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and later settled in Virginia—had returned to Mississippi to wrap up some old business.

He had a 2004 four-wheeler accident, as well as a 2007 car accident, and came back to the state to pick up a settlement check from one of the lawsuits. After picking up the $15,000 check, Glenn and some family members stayed at the IP Casino Resort & Spa in Biloxi. Instead of going through with plans to use part of the money on a deposit for a place to live, Glenn allegedly began spending the money wildly—gambling up to $1,000 a hand at the blackjack table and ordering drinks two at a time.

According to a lawsuit filed recently against the casino by Glenn's family, Glenn was found dead in his hotel room. The suit, which seeks $75 million in damages, says that Glenn had taken a variety of prescription painkillers and antipsychotic medications in the days leading up to his death, and that the casino served the man free drinks even after he was "falling down drunk." Glenn's family allegedly begged the casino to cut him off, but were told that "he's old enough to make his own decisions."

Gee, someone with a history of filing personal injury suits spends a bunch of money from a settlement foolishly, and his family (who had some plans for that money) decides the best course of action is to blame someone else for his death and file a lawsuit? Color me surprised.

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