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By 1992, I had completed a fairly successful career as a prosecutor and had spent five years on the bench. Most of my judicial work was in criminal law, where I had some background to draw upon, so I knew where all the bones were buried. I thought I was grading out reasonably well. Keep in mind, the best grade a judge ever gets is 50 percent. By definition, half the people who appear before you walk out thinking you screwed up. If your case has several parties on one side, your grades can dip to 20 percent, or even 10. But no one had shown up at my doorstep with torches and pitchforks, and both the district attorney and the public defender had something to be unhappy with me about, so I thought my career was trundling along nicely, thank you very much. I was, therefore, not surprised when my clerk told me the local newspaper was calling to get my opinion about some issue. I figured I had finally reached the point where they would be seeking my reaction to Supreme Court opinions or developments in high-profile lawsuits. I thought I was about to become a grown-up. Instead, the Los Angeles Timeswanted my reaction to the announcement that the National Hockey League had expanded into Orange County. Twenty years in the legal profession, it turned out, had established my credentials . . . as a hockey fan. It felt a lot like, “As a judge, you make a good sportswriter.” I was a little crestfallen.[ 1] I had been a pretty successful prosecutor. I’d won a lot of trials,[ 2] I’d won a lot of appeals, I’d successfully petitioned for certto the U.S. Supreme Court, and I had not bled to death after any of my several appearances before the Bird Court. I’d written law review articles, lectured law school classes, dazzled the Kiwanis. And what had I accomplished? I’d developed a reputation as a guy who knew the difference between icing and frosting. I resolved to do better. I’ve spent the last 13 years trying to upgrade my rep. I’ve published opinions, I’ve gone all over the country for speaking engagements, I’ve given commencement addresses. So today, I get four different e-mails proclaiming that Commonwealth v. Creightonis “right up your alley,” “your kind of case,” “grist for your mill” and “has Bedsworth written all over it.” And what, you ask,[ 3] is the subject matter of Commonwealth v. Creighton?What kind of case do people from as far away as Georgia associate with my name? I quote The Associated Press: “A man and woman who asked a Pennsylvania convenience store clerk to microwave a fake penis have settled disorderly conduct charges.” I’m not sure which is more disturbing: That I have failed so miserably in my attempt to develop the reputation I wanted, or that I have succeeded so well in developing the one I have. I mean, the unvarnished truth is that this IS my kind of case. It IS right up my alley and I can’t resist milling it. But it is rather disconcerting to think that when people hear about microwaving a fake penis they instantly think of me. What makes this my kind of case isn’t so much the subject matter[ 4] as the consummate goofiness of the whole thing. Which, as is usually the case, seems to be the least interesting aspect of it to the mainstream press. They don’t ask ANY of the questions that immediately occur to me.[ 5] Here’s the deal. Leslye Creighton needed to pass a drug test for a job. Apparently, a passing grade was defined as NOT actually having drugs in her system. Apparently Leslye had reason to believe that made a passing grade unlikely in her case. But, mirabile dictu, she had a friend, Vince Bostic, whose bloodstream promised a C- or higher. So they filled up a fake penis with Vince’s urine. Now stop right there. Isn’t there a flaw in the plan here? Leslye is a woman. She is not of the penile persuasion. Filling a fake penis with drug-free urine might work for a guy, who could secrete it in his pants and then fool an inattentive test monitor with it.[ 6] But how does a person who is not expected to pull a penis out of her pants make this work? This would have been the point where I moved on to Plan B, had I been Vince or Leslye. But this question seems not to have occurred to either them or The Associated Press. The AP never questions just how a woman runs the old “fake penis” dodge past a drug test monitor. That’s why they’re the “mainstream press” and I’m wracking my brain for euphemisms for the second time in three months.[ 7] So Vince and Leslye, not being Bonnie and Clyde, think they have the perfect plan � except for the fact the urine will be cold. They’re concerned that when the monitor takes the sample cup, he/she/whoever will notice that instead of being warm from the 98.6 degree vessel that is Leslye’s body, the urine will be, at best, lukewarm. Now you tell me: How can you worry about the monitor noticing the urine is at room temp rather than warm and not deal with the elephant in the corner of “WHY DOES LESLYE HAVE A PENIS?” If the monitor is brain-dead enough not to notice that the WOMAN taking the urine test just pulled out a penis, how is he/she/whoever going to notice that the urine is cooler than any urine not recovered in a morgue should be? I don’t know, you don’t know, AP doesn’t know, but somehow Vince and Leslye figure that’s a problem. So, on their way to the drug test, they stop. At a 7-11. That’s right, they pull into a convenience store, and they ask the clerk if he minds if they use his microwave to heat up their penis.[ 8] Apparently Vince and Leslye figured this would be an everyday occurrence at a convenience store. And well it might be. At a convenience store IN HELL! What were they thinking? We don’t know because AP apparently didn’t ask. Of course, the convenience store clerk did what every convenience store clerk not playing a part in a Freddy Kruger movie would do. He called the cops. He thought Vince and Leslye were cooking up the real deal.[ 9] Now wouldn’t you love to be the McKeesport, Pa., cop who got this call? “One-Adam Twelve. See the man. Couple microwaving penis in convenience store.” This is not something they covered at the academy. And it’s certainly not something that comes up every day in McKeesport. Maybe Sodom . . . or San Francisco . . . but not McKeesport. Would you, or would you not, bet the mortgage that the first words out of the cop’s mouth were, “Say again, dispatch, nature of the call?” I mean, the poor cop had to be thinking, “I wonder what she really said . . . because it soundedlike ‘penis in the microwave.’” And I’ve met enough cops in my career to know that after dispatch repeated the call, his first thought was, “Aw jeez, it’s gonna take all night to write this one up.” According to AP, the state’s attorney finally decided that what Leslye did fell within the rubric of “disorderly conduct.” While others might have considered mounting a “void for vagueness” challenge to this statute, Leslye really had no case. I mean, what she did was certainly not “orderly conduct.” What could it be, then, but “disorderly conduct?”[ 10] So she copped to the misdemeanor. Vince, on the other hand, was apparently able to convince the authorities that he was just another helpless male pawn, manipulated by the female mastermind of the operation. According to AP, “Charges were dropped against Bostic, who has agreed to help pay $425 to replace the store’s microwave.” Replace the microwave!? Good Lord, do you mean they actually turned the microwave onbefore the police got there? Do you mean Vince and Leslye left it in there until it exploded and sprayed … well, you know? No, you don’t. Because AP didn’t ask.[ 11] I do. That’s why this is my kind of case. And why my trenchant criticisms of Supreme Court dogma will never see the light of day. Contributing writer William W. Bedsworth is an associate justice at the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana. He writes this column to get it out of his system. He can be reached at [email protected]ov. You can read more columns like this in “A Criminal Waste of Time,” a book fromThe Recorder featuring more than 30 of the best columns from Justice Bedsworth. Order by calling (800) 587-9288 or visiting www.lawcatalog.com/bedsworth.
Footnotes: [ 1] Well, not right away, I wasn’t. Right away, I was pretty excited about the whole hockey thing. Within days, I had sent off an application to the NHL to become a goal judge � a job that saved me a ton of money previously spent on L.A. Kings tickets and afforded me more fun than anyone ought to be allowed to have � especially if he’s trying to masquerade as a serious human being. [ 2] It was Orange County, for crying out loud; the jury venire burst into applause when the prosecutor walked in. [ 3] Please ask. With the possible exception of an angry mob, there’s nothing worse than an unfounded rhetorical flourish. [ 4] Although I have to concede that I’m probably the only columnist not associated with Urology Today or Gay Monkey who has written two penis columns in the last three months. [ 5] A fact in which they would probably take considerable pride if they knew me. [ 6] You have no idea how hard it is to construct a sentence about that action without being “too graphic for the room.” Those Urology Today guys have it easy. [ 7] And let’s not even go to the question of whether the “mainstream press” can be expected to look too deeply into “urinestream” questions. [ 8] I’m betting it’s not gonna help my reputation that when you Google the phrase “use his microwave to heat up their penis,” mine will be the only name you’ll find. [ 9] And since there were two of them, and only one penis, he had to figure he was in real danger here. [ 10] This level of cerebration may be why I don’t get the calls about new Supreme Court decisions. [ 11] In AP’s defense, my wife insists there was no reason to ask because it didn’t matter: Once a urine-filled penis has been inserted into a microwave, the microwave is no longer fit for food processing. Period. I don’t know; that seems to me to elevate form over sub-stance, but she’s usually better than I am on etiquette questions, so I defer to her on this point.

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