Question of the Week

What Shocking and Curious Things Have You Seen Clients and Witnesses Wear to Court?


Last week, a new domestic violence court judge told an ABA Journal staffer that she chastised a defendant who appeared in her courtroom in a “wifebeater.” And this week, an Alabama judge held a defendant in contempt of court” for wearing saggy pants.

“You are in contempt of court because you showed your butt in court,” Circuit Judge John Bush told LaMarcus D. Ramsey. “You can spend three days in jail. When you get out you can buy pants that fit, or at least get a belt to hold up your pants so your underwear doesn’t show.”

We also noted last week how a witness admitted to a prosecutor during trial that he’d never seen any of the five murder defendants—all wearing glasses in court—wearing specs previously. The Washington Post said that nonprescription glasses have “become something of a sensation in the District’s courthouse scene: Attorneys say inmates trade them before hearings, while friends and family sometimes deliver them during jailhouse visits. Some lawyers even supply them themselves.”

So this week, we’d like to ask you: What shocking and curious things have you seen clients and witnesses wear to court? Have you noticed “hipster” glasses, low-rise pants or male defendants asserting their right to bare arms? Or any other other tragic apparel choices?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Do You (or Would You Ever) Dye Away Your Gray Hair for Work-Related Reasons?

Featured answer:

Posted by D.C. Toedt: “At a firm party when I was a newbie lawyer, a rainmaker senior partner offered the observation that gray hair was worth $15 per hour on your billing rate. New-lawyer billing rates were around $60 back then, if memory serves. Fortunately for my career prospects, I was (just) able to stop myself from asking the bald-as-an-egg partner how much NO hair was worth …”

Do you have an idea for a future question of the week? If so, contact us.

Updated April 13 to clarify that the domestic violence court judge herself referred to the tank top as a “wifebeater.”

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