By The Editors of

Worn out argument
A literal-minded Kansas man did not persuade a municipal judge with his attempt to skirt local seat-belt laws. Paul Weigand was in court in Wichita, Kan., on Feb. 10 with a ticket for not wearing his seat belt with an unusual argument. According to Weigand, he was wearing a seat belt-just as a belt-and police confirmed it wasn’t actually attached to his car. This, Weigand argued, satisfied the local seat-belt law. The prosecutor admitted that the law said only that a seat belt had to be worn-and nothing about its attachment to the vehicle-but argued that the spirit of the law was to keep car passengers safe. The judge then asked Weigand if his accessory would keep him safe. When he said it would not, she fined him $30 plus court costs.


Florida fake
Floridians won’t be cheering their new No. 1 ranking. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Sunshine State leads the nation in staged accidents created by fraudsters to bilk insurance companies out of thousands of dollars. Insurance experts say some Floridians have become quite adept at using peculiarities in the state’s no-fault auto insurance system to collect as much as $10,000 from insurers to cover medical bills for every passenger in an accident without proving which party was negligent. And if criminal records in Florida are any indication, the fraudulent accident claims could be as hard to prove as they are easy to commit. In 2009, the state’s Division of Insurance Fraud opened 1,388 investigations into supposedly staged accidents but closed fewer than 40.

Uncommon laws
Saying that they could be liable for injuries to would-be criminals, police in Southeast England have warned residents not to put up chicken wire to reinforce windows of garden sheds to prevent burglars from stealing outdoor appliances. Police in several villages have cited a number of cases where burglars have been injured while breaking into a shed protected by reinforced wiring, sued the property owners, and won damages in British courts.