Monday, January 23, 2012

Appropriate Court Attire

There is something about city court.  The churning through hundreds of cases a day might make it feel impersonal and informal.    It follows that some of the participants in this system will dress informally.  They feel that jeans and tee-shirts are acceptable court attire when facing a judge who determines their liberty. 

Below is a collection of tee-shirts I have seen defendants wearing in court.  They caught my attention when compared to the charges they were answering.  Once I saw the shirt, I found its image online and now the collection is ready for display.  We will do a matching quiz.  Here's a list of the cases these shirts were worn in.  See if you can tell which shirt belongs to which crime:

A.  Gang Assault
B.  Gun Possession
C. Marijuana Possession
E. Domestic Violence

Yes, I know that these shirts have innocuous meanings based in popular culture.  Do the defendants who wear these to court think the judge knows the social connotations of the shirt when they wake in the morning and decide to put this on?  Shouldn't we take court a little more seriously?  Can we all agree that wearing a marijuana leaf shirt to court is never a good idea no matter what you're charged with?


  1. I was representing a client in a robbery case. The government's major piece of evidence was a grainy surveillance video. You couldn't make out the guy's face but he was wearing a very distinctive hoodie. Imagine my dismay when on the morning of the preliminary hearing at which the video was going to be shown, my client showed up wearing the exact same hoodie. Fortunately, I saw him outside the hallway first and insisted that he take the hoodie off before going into the courtroom.

  2. Good story Jamison! I am surprised at the number of times defendants wear the same clothes the crime was committed in to court. I had a case where the witness was testifying at the felony hearing. The victim described these distinct orange and green sneakers the assailant wore. On cross-examination, the victim got frustrated with the defense attorney. He said, "not only did I see his face, but he's still wearing the sneakers." We all look at the defendant's orange and green sneakers which none of us had noticed before.

    Then we collected them for evidence.

  3. Are you freaking kidding me?

    So, I'm going with D, B, C and A. And even if I'm wrong, you gotta be pretty dense to show up in court with those things on.


  4. D, B, C, E, and A.

    You've got to enjoy the little gifts of laughter this job provides.

  5. Hmmm . . . this is one of those things where you don't know whether to laugh or cry. Some people just don't get it.

  6. This is very sad and shows the lack of respect that some people have for the criminal justice system. I also can't help but wonder if they think this kind of blatant arrogance will make the judge laugh enough that he dismisses them. I think not.