By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
In a final, unsparing shot at local government bureaucrats in the case, Bedsworth concluded that they'd been "so busy demonizing Debra" that they'd "abandoned" their "role as protector of children and preserver of families."
Bedsworth has a history of making controversial rulings. Late last year, the justice—until recently also a National Hockey League referee—authored an opinion that a dissenting colleague blasted as an unprecedented reduction of First Amendment freedoms. That case, which was covered in this column (see "Crying Racist," Nov. 25, 2010) involved Latino activist Nativo Lopez and his claim that a Los Angeles food-packing company's officials had committed racism when they fired more than 100 workers who could not prove U.S. citizenship.
Bedsworth slammed Lopez's actions as illegal, demonstrably false defamation of a corporation and determined he was liable for damages. In the minority, Justice Richard D. Fybel adamantly disagreed, noting that Lopez was constitutionally entitled—as is any member of the media—to publicly assert his view of the company's conduct.
In 2007, Bedsworth—appointed to the appeals court by Governor Pete Wilson 14 years ago—wrote a strongly worded majority opinion that rebuked the city of Garden Grove in its aggressive attempts to destroy 8 grams of marijuana it had confiscated from a motorist qualified to possess the narcotic under the state's Compassionate Use Act.
This column appeared in print as "The Mother, Her Teen Lover and Their Baby: Appeals court rejects decision to give child custody to a 10th grader."