I’ll See Your Zoppitybop-Bop-Bop and Raise You One Peace Baba Aquarius

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Stories about people who legally change their names to something unusual are not new, but they don’t really get old, either.

One exception might be stories about people who change their names to “Jesus Christ,” something that is relatively common. Those only get mentioned here if there is something extra, like if the Jesus in question has a spokesperson (“Christ is not speaking to the press at this time“) or was excused from jury service for being disruptive (“instead of answering questions, [Jesus] was asking them“). But other tales stand on their own, like if somebody chooses to honor his favorite band (“Since I became Led Zeppelin, my life has improved a thousand-fold“) or wants to add punctuation like Darren QX Bean! did (the “QX” was pronounced “Lloyd”).

Today’s examples are in the second category.

As you’ve probably heard, police in Madison, Wisconsin, arrested Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop on several charges after they confronted him in a local park on January 5. Residents nearby had reported “excessive drinking and drug use” in the park, and according to a police spokesman the responding officers recognized someone there as “a subject they had previous dealings with, identified as Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop.”


Beezow et al. (image: Dane County Sheriff’s Office via The Capital Times)

Zopittybop-Bop-Bop, likely the subject of a future biopic starring Johnny Depp, was arrested back in April 2011 under his previous name after officers said they found a loaded handgun in his backpack. (The report doesn’t say why they searched his backpack.) He changed his name in October. He was searched again during the January 5 incident, this time because “he apparently put his hands into his pockets, which put officers on alert because of his past arrest.”

This is a little sketchy. It’s not impossible that these were the same officers, or that they had just looked up his record and so knew that he had previously been carrying a concealed weapon. Still, I don’t think that having done so then makes you forever subject to search whenever you put your hands in your pockets (especially if the gun wasn’t even in your pockets before). Nor does it appear this was a search incident to arrest, because he was arrested only after being searched, because of what they found. So, at least based on this report, it seems to me that the search was questionable and the evidence it turned up (marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a knife – no gun) may be suppressed on Fourth Amendment grounds.

It might have happened differently, of course, and maybe it’s different because he was on probation (though the earlier search may also have been illegal). Mainly I just want there to be a Supreme Court case one day called Zopittybop-Bop-Bop v. Wisconsin.

Probably no constitutional issue in the second case, which involved a traffic stop in San Rafael, California, one week later. There, the highway patrol stopped a car for speeding, and when the patrolman approached the car he smelled marijuana. As you should know by now, that isn’t enough by itself to justify a search, but allegedly he also saw some loose marjiuana on the seat between the driver’s legs. That might justify the thorough search of the car that followed, one so thorough that they tore apart the back seat, where they found several pounds of marjiuana. Anyway, the real point is that they ended up arresting one of the passengers, a 38-year-old man named Peace Baba Aquarius.

As far as I can tell, this one has not been widely reported, even in California, although that could be because this happened in Marin County, a place that may be teeming with Peaces, Babas, and Aquarii and so forth. The report linked above did not even bother to comment on the name. I guess it’s also true that I have no evidence this guy wasn’t born “Peace Baba Aquarius,” and that’s at least possible if he was born in Marin about 1974. Maybe nobody notices up there unless you don’t have an astrological sign in your name.

Anyway, bail for Peace Baba Aquarius was set at $20,000.