Thursday, December 3, 2009

What is the dumbest thing?

Some people think that sexting is the dumbest thing. Other people think that backyard wrestling is the dumbest thing. Still others would nominate the Word of Faith movement, or the nine-hundred-page racist rape-promoting roleplaying game, or Mike Huckabee's clemency process, or panties with Robert Pattinson's face on the inside.

A new nominee comes from the Washington Court of Appeals in State v. Thompson.

Eighty-year-old Shirley Crawford gave her friend Judith Thompson a power of attorney to handle her financial affairs while she was in a nursing home. Judith and her husband James promptly funneled about $400,000 worth of funds (including money she got from selling Shirley's house) into their own pockets. But that's not the dumbest thing.

The dumbest thing happened when Adult Protection Services got involved. The Thompsons showed up with a videotape. And the contents of the tape?

On the video, Judith and James and other members of the Thompson family are shown gathered in Crawford's nursing home room. Judith Thompson hands a typed statement to Crawford. James Thompson tells Crawford that he wrote it from things that she said. Judith Thompson reads from the statement, which is written in the first person as if Crawford were speaking. It includes statements such as, "I wanted Jim and Judy to have my house." The video shows Crawford nodding and agreeing with the statements.

The Thompsons were shocked when they were charged with witness tampering. Judith testified at trial:

She said they had gifted Crawford's estate to themselves in order to protect it from would-be thieves....

I think that deserves consideration as the dumbest thing.

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