An Oregon district attorney's office set out two years ago to prosecute David Simmons for having sex the year before with his girlfriend, then 14, while he was 17. A grand jury in Jefferson County refused to indict Simmons, but the prosecutor acted exactly like the indictment had gone through, and no one, even Simmons, noticed the mistake. Only when Simmons agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a 30-day sentence in October 2006 did the news finally reach the foreman of the grand jury that had "no-billed" Simmons, and the foreman's complaint caused the judge to dismiss the conviction. However, in December 2008, prosecutors in neighboring Lane County charged Simmons anew for that 2005 tryst, claiming that "double jeopardy" does not apply because the Jefferson County case never legally happened (in that Simmons was never really indicted).

Hysterectomies by ordinary surgery can take hours to perform, several days' recovery and six weeks off from work, largely from the trauma of cutting open the abdomen, but recent advances in laparoscopy have reduced the burdens dramatically because the four required incisions are each only about one-eighth of an inch long. The Chicago Sun-Times reported in December that one of the leading practitioners, Dr. Richard Demir of South Barrington, Ill., had recently been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for having removed a 7-pound uterus via laparoscopy (by cutting the organ into smaller pieces and pulling each out through the tiny incisions).

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