Australian Marcus Einfeld (a lawyer, former federal judge and prominent Jewish community leader) was once decorated as a national "living treasure," but he suffered a total downfall in 2006 by choosing to fight a (Aus.)$77 speeding ticket. By March 2009, he had been sentenced to two years in prison for perjury and obstructing justice because he had created four detailed schemes to "prove" that he was not driving that day. His original defense (that he had loaned the car to a friend who had since conveniently passed away) was accepted by the judge, but dogged reporting by Sydney's Daily Telegraph revealed that lie, plus subsequent elaborate lies to cover each successive explanation. Encouraged by those revelations, the press later uncovered Einfeld's bogus college degrees and awards and an incident of double-billing the government.
A high school student in Oakton, Va., was suspended for two weeks in March when she inadvertently brought to school her birth-control pill (her prescription for which was approved by her mother). It was only then (with two weeks off to research it) that the girl discovered that, in comparison, county rules required only one week's suspension for bringing heroin to school. Officials told the Washington Post that birth-control pills are particularly objectionable because they countermand the school system's "abstinence-only" sex education classes. [Washington Post, 4-5-09]
Bad Decisions: Chrysler Corp. may be on its last legs as a stand-alone company, but that did not stop its representatives from disrupting a funeral proceeding in Cranbury, N.J., in March to subpoena the corpse (which the company said is relevant to a pending lawsuit over mesothelioma). [WCBS-TV (New York City), 3-9-09]
Joseph Milano, owner of Goomba's Pizza in Palm Coast, Fla., was in the federal witness protection program for squealing on Bonanno crime family members in New York but lost his anonymity in January when he was arrested for allegedly pistol-whipping a customer who had dared to criticize his calzone. [New York Daily News, 2-7-09]