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Compelling Explanations



Lame: Jonathan Powell, 17, was convicted in April of sexually assaulting a college student in Iowa City, Iowa, after his DNA was found in several places on her body. Powell explained the DNA by claiming that he had merely bumped into the woman accidentally while jogging and had become so "entangled" with her that he was unable to free himself for about "45 minutes."

In April, Donald Duncan Jr., 34, was convicted of invasion of privacy in Carlisle, Pa., after his wife discovered a hidden-camera video of two girls who were disrobing in a bedroom in the couple's house. Duncan said he had set up the camera because he suspected there were ghosts in the house and wanted proof.

Lawyer Charles Curbo filed a motion in Memphis, Tenn., in June, claiming that his client, Tony Wolfe, who was convicted of murder, failed to get a fair trial due to the ineffectiveness of Wolfe's lawyer (i.e., Curbo) because the lawyer was often too sleepy to do a good job. However, the prosecutor pointed out that part of Curbo's strategy had been to "wear down" witnesses "by extensive cross-examination" and that it was no wonder that he was exhausted.

Tiffany Weaver pleaded guilty in April to having stolen a lawyer's official ID and impersonating the woman in order to gain access to the jail in Baltimore so that she could visit her incarcerated boyfriend, but she denied, through her lawyer, that she and the boyfriend had had sex while they were together. "There was never any sexual intercourse," said attorney Ivan Bates. "There was no thrusting whatsoever."

Unclear on the Concept: After the owner of a wrought-iron business in Brussels, Belgium, abruptly turned away a 53-year-old Nigerian native who had applied for a job, the local labor office declared the owner racist. However, the man said he was just trying to protect the Nigerian from the owner's dog. "My dog is racist," he said. "Not me."

Police in Kyoto, Japan, said in March that a man had been detained after firing a dozen rounds from his house toward a new, 11-story condominium building next door. The man explained that he was angry that the building was blocking the sunlight he had previously enjoyed.

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