Obiter Dicta

While We’re at It ...

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David Kite was a happy man when he got to marry his sweetheart. But a prior reservation at a crossbar hotel precluded spending his wedding night in a honeymoon suite. Kite, 23, had just pleaded guilty to theft of a lawn mower and, given the fact he had already done time for a similar offense, it was no surprise that he got slapped with a five year sentence.

After imposing the sentence, St. Clair County (Ill.) Circuit Judge John Baricevic denied a request from Kite’s attorney, Michael Rousseau, for a three or four day furlough so Kite could get married. Baricevic did suggest, however, that Kite and his intended tie the knot right then and there.

Without further ado the bride to be, Victoria Smith, was dispatched to acquire the necessary license, and the paperwork was brought to Kite so he could sign off on the deal.

With Baricevic officiating and Kite’s mother serving as witness, a shackled Kite–in his orange prison jumpsuit–and Smith began what they presumably hope will be a life sentence together.

An awkward silence followed the pronouncement of the couple’s new marital status, so Rousseau offered Kite this helpful suggestion: “You can kiss the bride, David.”

Get Out Of Dodge

Dealership Declares Disgruntled Driver’s
Display Defamatory, Demands He Desist

For the cost of a fuel pump, Jim Broomell says a Dodge dealership in Cherry Hill, N.J., bought itself a tankful of trouble.

Broomell, 38, of Medford bought a used pickup truck from the dealership in 1995–a purchase that initiated several years of acrimonious disputes. He says ongoing problems necessitated multiple visits to the dealership’s repair shop, so he filed a lemon-law suit against Chrysler. He won an extension on his warranty and an unspecified sum of money. Broomell says the truck began vibrating excessively at higher speeds because of a dodgy fuel pump, so he brought it yet again to Cherry Hill Dodge. He says the problem persisted, and after several visits the dealership refused to do any further work, despite his extended warranty.

Broomell sued again, this time in small claims court, and lost.

Laura Ruccolo, an attorney for Cherry Hill Dodge, says that, in reality, five dealerships refused to work on Broomell’s truck.

“He was yelling and screaming at everyone,” she says. “They didn’t want to deal with him.”

Broomell then took his gripe public by affixing signs to his truck, one of which read “Cherry Hill Dodge Sucks.” He also created a Web site critical of the dealership, which sued him in 2004 for what it said were false statements made on the site.

Ruccolo says the dealership offered to settle, but Broomell refused. The suit was dismissed in December on procedural grounds, though Ruccolo says it can be reinstated if Broomell continues his public attacks.

Broomell seems unfazed by the threat. “That,” he says, “will be a can of worms they don’t want to open.”

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