Nice Try

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Nice Try

Jail gives inmates a lot of time to think, and a Chesapeake, Va., prisoner used the hours to come up with an exceptionally innovative lawsuit. In 1995, Robert Lee Brock sued himself for $5 million, claiming that he violated his own civil rights when he was arrested two years earlier for breaking and entering and grand larceny.

"I partook of alcoholic beverages in 1993, July 1st, as a result I caused myself to violate my religious beliefs. This was done by my going out and getting arrested," wrote Brock in the lawsuit he filed in federal court. But because he had no income in jail, Brock asked that the state pay him the multi-million dollar settlement. Judge Rebecca Beach Smith dismissed his claim as "ludicrous" but acknowledged his "innovative approach to civil rights litigation."

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