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Legal Topics: "Loony" Laws

Web sites and books love to collect, for our entertainment, what are often called "loony" or "weird" or simply strange, unusual, peculiar or even bizarre laws. Which of these may be real but exaggerated and which are urban legends can be hard to determine, because they are almost never cited to their source. The urban legends site Snopes.com has a concise explanation of the problem on its Arizona Defense page.

One of the questions we get frequently is whether it is illegal to cross the Minnesota/Wisconsin border with a duck on your head. This question has been tackled by the Minnesota Lawyer Blog -- see If it quacks like a duck, it must be cotton fabric -- and Minnesota Public Radio -- see Quack. The following resources may help you run your own particular rumor to ground.

Resources:

  • Legal Affairs from Snopes.com
  • Urban Legends, from About.com
  • MMinnesota Statutes, Laws, and Rules
  • Minnesota Statutes Archive
  • Minnesota Session Laws
  • Minnesota County and Municipal Ordinances
  • The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library keeps a paper file of items collected over the years which may include some strange customs that patrons interested in "weird" laws may also find interesting.
  • From across the pond, Legal Curiosities: Fact or Fable?, from the Law Commission (U.K.).
  • The judge who hated red nail polish : & other crazy but true stories of law & lawyers - Ilona Bray, Richard Stim and the editors of Nolo - K184 .B73 2010
  • Strangest Laws Still in Effect Today
    Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

    Related Topics: Sources of Law.


    DISCLAIMER:  As librarians and not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file), or legal opinions, (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts.)  To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.  Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, further research is usually required to find a complete and correct answer.  For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.  For links to resources on finding an attorney click here.


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    Minnesota State Law Library: Legal Topics: "Loony" Laws
    http://www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/loony.html

    Last updated on July 16, 2013.
    Links checked on July 17, 2012.

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