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Law Humor

A Criminal Waste of Space A Criminal Waste of Space

An irreverent look at legal matters by a veteran appellate court judge.
By Justice William W. Bedsworth

Post Frequency: 0.1/day

Last Entry: November 05, 2010 at 20:15:36

Recent Entries: 23

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My Retirement: Pucks, Ducks, and Yucks

Posted on November 05, 2010
                    Well, it's official.  The retirement papers are filed, I've said goodbye to my colleagues, and turned in my ID card.  I may come back on assignment sometime, but basic...

Finally -- A Judging Job I can Handle

Posted on November 05, 2010
                         I think I've found my calling.                    &...

A Ticket to Walk: Cap'n Crunch and the Other Terrorists

Posted on August 01, 2009
I think I may have underestimated the Pepsi Cola people. This would, after all, be an easy thing to do. About all we see of Pepsi is that red-white-and-blue beachball logo, and it's hard to take them seriously as an evil empire when all they seem to want us to do is join the Pepsi generation and...

It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

Posted on May 13, 2009
I have gone gently into the good night of geezerhood. I'm not sure exactly when it happened. At some point, apparently while my attention was diverted, I went from being "The Kid"1 to being "Acting PJ." That's like going to bed Warren Zevon and waking up The Werewolf of L...

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Two More Cases I Would Have Gotten Wrong

Posted on April 01, 2009
I was a trial judge for ten years without ever being assigned to Family Law. Turns out all you have to do is deny a coupla divorces and the Presiding Judge decides you're not cut out for that assignment.  Go figure.  Seemed to me you shouldn't need a judge to grant divorces if...


Posted on April 01, 2009
The National Judicial College is located in Reno, Nevada.  I don't know why.  I always assumed that's where the founders' wagon train ran out of food and water.Whatever the reason for the location, it's problematic.  Say what you will about Reno, it is geographically u...

Crime and Punishment

Posted on March 06, 2009
My first year criminal law professor spent a great deal of time - an inordinate amount of time, I thought then - on the philosophy of punishment.  I was a lot more confident at twenty than I am now of my ability to recognize a waste of time, and the weeks we spent debating the efficacy vel non ...

The Tyranny of Small Laws

Posted on March 06, 2009
G. K. Chesterton said, "When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty.  You do not even get anarchy.  You get small laws."  And when you break the small laws, some poor judge gets another ulcer.Before Pete Wilson went walkabout and gave me the absolute best job in the ...

Is That a Kielbasa in Your Pocket?

Posted on November 04, 2008
It occurred to me today that it's a long, long time from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September.1 Which means that by November, the days have grown short enough that Grumpy and Sneezy could drive the lane on them. The race to get home before sunset has once again becom...

Just Another Day in the Monkey House

Posted on September 17, 2008
When novelist Kurt Vonnegut died last year, Sports Illustrated ran an obituary. This was unusual. SI has a section in which they typically run short obituaries of sports figures, but Kurt Vonnegut was not, at least at first glance, a sports figure. It got my attention...

The Ruby Laffoon Rule

Posted on May 20, 2008
I try really hard not to throw rocks at legislators.  For one thing, they have a very tough job, a very boring job, a job most of us wouldn't take unless they'd stopped hiring at the steel mill.  For another thing, if you throw a rock at a legislator, you're gonna hit him; they...

Schaddenfreude a la Spitzer

Posted on May 02, 2008
My wife and I work together. This means I get to spend pretty much every minute of my life with her. This sometimes gets in the way because, of course, it means I have to spend so much time giving thanks to a higher power for my incredible good fortune...

Gorilla Warfare

Posted on March 27, 2008
I must admit I was startled. I had not expected to see a gorilla when I left the golf course. And I certainly hadn't expected to be within 20 feet of one.1 Yet there he was, standing on a street corner in Irvine, swaying rhythmically from side to side, listening to his iPod...

The Korean Alien Penumbra Conundrum

Posted on January 04, 2008
On October 5th of last year, I spoke to the American Bar Association's International Law Section in London. On October 19th, I spoke to the Nebraska State Bar Convention in Lincoln.In between, I spent a week in a decompression chamber to keep from getting the bends...

Heir of the Dog

Posted on November 21, 2007
I had three dogs as a boy.  All were named Trouble.  This was because my dad named all the dogs and he was not entirely convinced by my mom's "A boy should have a dog" argument.In fact, Dad disliked pretty much everything about dogs...


Posted on September 10, 2007
My first year criminal law class spent very little time on the elements of crimes and a lot on the "philosophy of punishment." I griped about the curriculum and complained that we should spend less time studying the music of the spheres and more time learning how to distinguish battery fro...

Skidding Through the Learning Curve

Posted on August 01, 2007
Years ago, when my daughter Megan was in high school, I made the mistake of mentioning that when I was her age, I didn't have to learn about the Vietnam War because it hadn't yet started.  She was, understandably, outraged about the unfairness of having to learn 30 more years of history...

Start Spreading the News

Posted on June 28, 2007
My career on the bench has now reached twenty years, but it includes very little family law work.  Turns out if you deny just one divorce, they stop sending them to you.But that is apparently not the rule in other states.  Or at least one state...

Men Left Panting for Clues

Posted on June 08, 2007
My gender has a hard time with pants. I don't know why this is. As body coverings go, pants are decidedly low-tech. You would think a gender that can - more or less - cope with shoelaces and French cuffs and four-in-hand knots could manage pants. I mean, once you get out of the way of the zipper...

A Criminal Use of Waste

Posted on May 31, 2007
I don't generally use this space for education.  I'm having enough trouble getting myself educated without worrying about others.But every so often, a case comes along that includes so much wisdom and information that even I - a hopeless Philistine, generally tone-deaf to cultural value...

Working a Tough Room

Posted on May 03, 2007
The world is turning into a tough room in which to do comedy.The day after his State of the Union address, President Bush flew in Air Force One - a Boeing 747 - to Wilmington, Delaware - a distance of 98 miles - to give a speech on energy conservation...

Luckless in Lansing

Posted on April 05, 2007
My life is so good it is undermining my belief in a just God.I've done what I can to reassure myself about the dissonance between what I have and what I deserve.  I've tried to convince myself that the brain surgery, heart surgery, knee surgery, kidney stones, lifelong asthma, bad eyesi...

Name That Loon

Posted on February 08, 2007
My full name is William Wiley Bedsworth, II.  That is technically erroneous in terms of naming rules.  I am technically not a "second."  Since I was given the same name as my father, the rules say I should be a "junior."  The Roman numeral two is supposed to b...

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