Friday, May 18, 2007

412!!?!?! WHAT'S A 412?

This is a popular expression on the W0KIE Satellite Radio Network. It's a line from a Stan Freeburg comedy release called "Christmas Dragnet", in which the character "Grudge" who does not believe in anything was being read a whole bunch of charges. One of those charges is a "412", in which Grudge replies "Four-twelve! What's a four-twelve?".

On these classic cop shows like Dragnet, Adam 12 and even CHiPs which are based on California law enforcement, you may hear the 3 digit codes for various offenses. Some of the most popular ones you will hear are:
187 - Homicide
211 - Armed Robbery
415 - Civil Disturbance
502 - Driving Under the Influence

These codes come from the California Penal Code.

With that in mind, what is a 412? Well, interestingly enough, section 412 specifies the legality of exhibitions of amateur boxing. That's right boxing.

Here's a copy of Sec. 412 of the CPC (including the longest sentence I have ever seen...):
  • 412. Any person, who, within this state, engages in, or instigates, aids, encourages, or does any act to further, a pugilistic contest, or fight, or ring or prize fight, or sparring or boxing exhibition, taking or to take place either within or without this state, between two or more persons, with or without gloves, for any price, reward or compensation, directly or indirectly, or who goes into training preparatory to such pugilistic contest, or fight, or ring or prize fight, or sparring or boxing exhibition, or acts as aider, abettor, backer, umpire, referee, trainer, second, surgeon, or assistant, at such pugilistic contest, or fight, or ring or prize fight, or sparring or boxing exhibition, or who sends or publishes a challenge or acceptance of a challenge, or who knowingly carries or delivers such challenge or acceptance, or who gives or takes or receives any tickets, tokens, prize, money, or thing of value, from any person or persons, for the purpose of seeing or witnessing any such pugilistic contest, or fight, or ring or prize fight, or sparring or boxing exhibition, or who, being the owner, lessee, agent, or occupant of any vessel, building, hotel, room, enclosure or ground, or any part thereof, whether for gain, hire, reward or gratuitously or otherwise,
    permits the same to be used or occupied for such a pugilistic contest, or fight, or ring or prize fight, or sparring or boxing exhibition, or who lays, makes, offers or accepts, a bet or bets, or wager or wagers, upon the result or any feature of any pugilistic contest, or fight, or ring or prize fight, or sparring or boxing exhibition, or acts as stakeholder of any such bet or bets, or wager or wagers, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction
    thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars and be imprisoned in the county jail not less than thirty days nor exceeding one year; provided, however, that amateur boxing exhibitions may be held within this state, of a limited number of rounds, not exceeding four of the duration of three minutes each; the interval between each round shall be one minute, and the contestants weighing one hundred and forty-five pounds or over shall wear gloves of not less than eight ounces each in weight, and contestants weighing under one hundred and forty-five pounds may wear gloves of not less than six ounces each in weight.
  • All gloves used by contestants in such amateur boxing exhibitions shall be so constructed, as that the soft padding between the outside coverings shall be evenly distributed over the back of said gloves and cover the knuckles and back of the hands.
  • And no bandages of any kind shall be used on the hands or arms of the contestants.
  • For the purpose of this statute an amateur boxing exhibition shall be and is hereby defined as one in which no contestant has received or shall receive in any form, directly or indirectly, any money, prize, reward or compensation either for the expenses of training for such contest or for taking part therein, except as herein expressly provided.
  • Nor shall any person appear as contestant in such amateur exhibition who prior thereto has received any compensation or reward in any form for displaying, exercising or giving any example of his skill in or knowledge of athletic exercises, or for rendering services of any kind to any athletic organization or to any person or persons as trainer, coach, instructor or otherwise, or who shall have been employed in any manner professionally by reason of his athletic skill or knowledge; provided, however, that a medal or trophy may be
    awarded to each contestant in such amateur boxing exhibitions, not to exceed in value the sum of $35.00 each, which such medal or trophy must have engraved thereon the name of the winner and the date of the event; but no portion of any admission fee or fees charged or received for any amateur boxing exhibition shall be paid or given to any contestant in such amateur boxing exhibition, either directly or indirectly, nor shall any gift be given to or received by such contestants for participating in such boxing exhibition, except said
    medal or trophy.
  • At every amateur boxing exhibition held in this state and permitted by this section of the Penal Code, any sheriff, constable, marshal, policeman or other peace officer of the city, county or other political subdivision, where such exhibition is being held, shall have the right to, and it is hereby declared to be his duty to stop such exhibition, whenever it shall appear to him that the contestants are so unevenly matched or for any other reason, the
    said contestants have been, or either of them, has been seriously injured or there is danger that said contestants, or either of them, will be seriously injured if such contest continues, and he may call to his assistance in enforcing his order to stop said exhibition, as many peace officers or male citizens of the state as may be necessary for that purpose.
  • Provided, further, that any contestant who shall continue to participate in such exhibition after an order to stop such exhibition shall have been given by such peace officer, or who shall violate any of the regulations herein prescribed, for governing amateur boxing exhibitions, shall be deemed guilty of violating this section of the Penal Code and subject to the punishment herein provided.
  • Nothing in this section contained shall be construed to prevent any county, city and county, or incorporated city or town from prohibiting, by ordinance, the holding or conducting of any boxing exhibition, or any person from engaging in any such boxing exhibition therein.
Now mind you, I am not an expert in amateur boxing and therefore I do not know the origins of this law therefore I don't know if this is a law that is really enforced today or if it's one of those kind of archiac laws like cohabitation.

Regardless, Byron, you now know what a 412 really is.

2 comments:

Glenn Leider said...

Actually, I first heard "A 412!!?!?! What's a 412?" toward the end of Freeburg's "St. George and the Dragon-Net" satire. St. George (who sounds like Joe Friday), after capturing a particular dragon with a "Dragon-Net," charges him with "devouring maidens out of season." After the dragon boisterously boasts that the charge will never stick, he's then is hit with "a 412."

Dragon: "A 412!!?!?! What's a 412?"
St. George: "Overacting."

The dragon is convicted and sentenced by having his fire put out.

Fred said...

Thanks for posting this; I found it because I was reminiscing about how Ted Brown used to play a recording of the words "4-12! What's a 4-12?" after announcing the time was 4:12. This was on WNEW-AM radio in New York City, probably in the early 1970s. I never knew where the clip came from until now.

Checking out the original recordings, I find that Glenn is right: it was the dragon who was charged with a 4-12, not Grudge. Grudge is charged only with a 4096325-096704, "not believing in Santa Claus"; however, the charge number is not mentioned in his presence.