Law And Grammar
You have two children, fraternal twins, whom you have unimaginatively named "John" and "Jane." They are seven years old.
One day at the park, a man and a woman, each wearing a raincoat and shoes, "flash" your children.
A police officer saw the whole thing -- so to speak -- and immediately arrests the flashers, who are charged with indecent exposure.
What happens to them?
Well, if they do it in Riverside, a judge who is apparently unfamiliar with the English language will release the woman but not the man.
Superior Court Judge Armstrong -- "superior" modifies "court," rather than "judge" -- ruled that, because the statute on indecent exposure refers to an individual who exposes "his person," the statute must apply only to men, not women.
This reasoning is flawed not just because of the ordinary rules of the English language, but also because the Legislature has enacted a statute specifically stating that "words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter."
Prosecutor Alison N. Norton plans to appeal. She will definitely prevail. There's just no doubt about it.
Here's the story: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-102006expose,0,7817008.story?coll=la-home-headlines .
As a lawyer teaching English, I think I see a need for English teachers to teach law.
Anyway, here's the funny (funnier?) part of the story: the defendant woman, age 40, was flashing a neighbor boy, age 14, when he played basketball near her apartment, ostensibly because she hated the noise. According to the paper, "'She threatened to do it every time he played basketball,' and the parents called police, Norton said."
Yeah, that ought to stop the neighbor boy from playing basketball. After all, we all know how very much teenage boys HATE seeing naked breasts.
The defendant's name is Alexis Luz Garcia. There was no report on whether she is having her name legally changed to "Mrs. Robinson."