At the risk of sounding like a Volvo-driving academic from Chapel Hill, I’ll admit to enjoying some of National Public Radio’s weekend programming, including the game show Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. My favorite part of the show is a segment called Bluff the Listener, where a caller is asked to distinguish between fictional and actual news stories. Suffice it to say, the actual news stories are at least as bizarre as the fictional ones.
With the judges’ and DAs’ conferences this week, legal news is a little slow, so I thought it would be fun to play a legal variant of the same game. Of the four news items below, one is fictional, and the other three are real. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the fictional one. Ready? Here you go:
1. 200 French prison inmates are currently participating in a 15-day cycling “Tour de France,” just weeks before the world’s best professional cyclists begin their Tour de France. The inmates are accompanied by “prison sports instructors” during their travels, and “breakaways,” an important feature of the real Tour, are apparently frowned upon.
2. A 13-year-old boy from Missouri just graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law, becoming, according to media reports, the youngest attorney in the United States. The boy, who was homeschooled until starting college at age 10, admits that “some people may be uncomfortable with a lawyer my age” but says that he is “used to dealing with stereotypes.” H reports that he already has a job lined up at a law firm in his hometown, and that he has joined the Young Lawyers’ Division of the state bar association. He plans to be the longest-serving member of the Division when he ages out of eligibility . . . in 2031.
3. Two months after being named Officer of the Year, a Chicago police officer celebrated the honor by assaulting a police chief, being charged with a felony, and being placed on administrative leave. News reports contain no information suggesting that he offered to return the award.
4. An inmate at the federal supermax prison in Colorado has requested court-appointed counsel to assist him in suing the Bureau of Prisons over the food served at the prison. He claims that he is not receiving enough whole grains and fresh produce, and that the diet is causing him to “sin against God.”
If I knew how to include a poll in this post, I’d do it. But I don’t, so I have to trust you. To learn which story is fictional, read on using the link below.
The fictional story is number two, about the 13-year-old lawyer. I made it up. The others, believe it or not, are true. Here are links to the Tour de France story, the Officer of the Year story, and the Supermax food story. The supermax inmate, Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols, probably wishes he were in France — I bet they get plenty of whole grains and fresh produce on the bike tour.