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Justice Bedsworth: Will a Laughing Jury Convict?


Why should you read Justice Bedsworth? Who else would write a sentence like this in a judicial opinion? (Which also won him a Judicial Wisdom of the Year (2003) award.)

“There is no non-culpable explanation for monkeys in your underpants.”

For this month’s joyful ruminations from the Bedsworth bench:

Dopes and Robbers,” by Justice William W. Bedsworth, in the October 2010, Criminal Waste of Space column, in the OC Lawyer Magazine:

Excerpt: “One of the many joys of a career in the District Attorney’s Office is that you get to read a lot of police reports. Rhapsodize all you want about movies or music or surfing or whatever your favorite form of entertainment is, nothing can beat police reports. I spent 15 years as a prosecutor. Except for the job I have now, there isn’t a better one in the system.(1) This is especially true if you learn to approach every police report as if you were picking up lost correspondence between Mark Twain and Alexander Pushkin.

Granted, the writing won’t be up to the standards of the aforementioned authors: Police officers hate being cooped up in a room writing; that’s why they became police officers. One of the few downsides of prosecution is that you have to spend a lot of time explaining to jurors that some of the mistakes in the police report are probably attributable to the desperate desire of its author to finish it so she could get back out on the street.

But not even J. K. Rowling on her best day could match the imagination of the criminal class. Some truly amazing stuff goes on out there….” (Link to full article.)

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