We all know people who take a joke just a little too far. Here are some April Fool’s pranks that ended up in court:
In In Re G.W., 161 N.H. 401, 13 A.D.3d 194 (N.H. 2011) the court found that an applicant for admission to the New Hampshire bar lacked the moral character and fitness necessary to practice law due, in part, to a conviction stemming from an April Fool’s Day incident where the applicant, wielding a large knife, “pretended to be a robber” at a store.
The defendant in U.S. v. Stinson, 35 C.M.R. 711 (1964) appealed his larceny conviction for stealing for hubcaps, in part, on the grounds that he lacked the requisite mens rea for this offense because it was an April Fool’s Day joke.
Victoria Square, LLC v. Glastonbury Citizen, 49 Conn. Supp. 452, 891 A.2d 142 (Conn. Super. 2006) involved an article in the Citizen’s April Fool’s Day edition, wherein it was stated that a property developer planned to build a 250,000 square foot discount store and the state’s largest Hooters restaurant, the logo for which would be positioned to face a local church and an elementary school. The developer sued for defamation, but the court found that the edition was clearly a parody and therefore not defamatory.
Find these cases and more:
1. A quick search of the internet indicated three different spellings: April Fool’s Day, April Fools’ Day and April Fools Day. Thus, I knew I wanted to catch all of these variations with my search.
3. Knowing that Westlaw automatically searches for plurals, I ran this search: april /2 fool /2 day. I retrieved 69 results. Deleting /2 day from the search allowed for cases where the court referred to an April Fool’s prank, without mentioning the word “day”; this returned 128 results.
Please note, Westlaw is available to law students and faculty only; however, anyone can find cases on Google Scholar (select “Legal Opinions and Journals”).