• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Contempt of Court for Saggy Pants

Via WSFA:  Man jailed for wearing sagging pants in court

An Autauga County man facing a charge of receiving stolen property is spending 3 days behind bars, not for that crime, but for wearing sagging pants in the courthouse.  Lamarcus Ramsey, 20, of Prattville, was found in contempt of court.

"It shows a general lack of respect for themselves, for others and the general institution of the court," said Judge John Bush, of the 19th Judicial Circuit.  "These courtrooms belong to the people of this state.  And the citizens of the 19th Circuit expect me to preserve dignity and respect in their courtroom."

Look, I don’t get the appeal of the saggy pants look and at a minimum it would drive me crazy to wear my pants in such a fashion.  Still, I do not understand the obsession that certain authority figures have with this phenomenon (e.g., passing laws against it, etc.).

Is it really worth incurring the expense to the county of a three day stint in prison for this fellow over this?

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. J-Dub says:

    He should have just sentenced him to wear a suit for six months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    @Steven Taylor,

    I wanted to say I enjoyed your book, particularly the manner in which you connect institutional changes to variations in political outcomes. I found the micro-politics-translating-to-macro approach rather refreshing in an academic area which has come to feel rather stagnant. Do you have any inclination toward expanding your research to include a greater focus on the interplay of colombian politics and culture, or are you exclusively a political historian?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    @Ben Wolf: And I just used rather twice in one sentence. Deduct five points from my paper.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Well, that’s a media report and thus we need to be skeptical of whether the full story was reported. There’s somewhat of a veiled reference in that article to a “noisy” courtroom. It might have been that the judge got frustrated with a number of actions by that defendant, the saggy pants being one of them, and then issued the contempt order accordingly. If the pants were the only reason for the contempt order then it’s probably an overreaction by the court, but then again we don’t know the background nor the context.

    P.S. – When someone summarily is sentenced for contempt of court they don’t spend time in “prison,” they spend that time in county jail. Those are two different things. Sorry for being punctilious. Force of habit. Can’t help it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Another triumph of sartorial allegiance. Back in the early ’70s, I bought my only pair of bellbottom dungarees. As I was still in the throes of my basketball daze, my first trip to the court in them guaranteed that they would soon find the very bottom of my bureau drawer.

    As to today’s “saggy pants”, and what a euphemism that is, I tend to come down on the side of “passive-aggresivism”. And from what I seen on the “COPS” TV program, the style doesn’t seem to do much to help perpetrators make their escapes which may be why our young Lochinvar found himself in the halls of justice such as they are these days.

    As further support for this jurist, I would offer that the preeminent elderly female Jewish jurist in the land, Judge Judy that would be, often castigates those who come before her in inappropriate clothing. So there’s that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. mantis says:

    This brought to mind two things. The scene from My Cousin Vinny when Herman Munster admonishes Joe Pesci for wearing leather, and, of course, the Pants on the Ground guy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. @mantis:

    :)

    Indeed–I love the courtroom scenes in My Cousin Vinny

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Tillman says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    It might have been that the judge got frustrated with a number of actions by that defendant, the saggy pants being one of them, and then issued the contempt order accordingly.

    My reading of the article suggests you could be on to something, but also suggests that even if you are right to consider the context, you are wrong to downplay the sagging pants as an issue.

    A judge should issue contempt of court when needed, but “sagging pants” and, in general, “how one is dressed” should not be considered. Even if the defendant is dressed like a rabid hobo, that should not affect how justice is administered in this country. If he’s acting like a rabid hobo, by all means.

    Eh, but that’s just me. There are decency laws after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Totally off topic, but I once read an interview with Fred Gwynne (the Judge to Joe Pesci’s Lawyer) where he mentioned that the famous “Yutes” dialog was written in after it really happened during rehearsals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. @Ben Wolf:

    I wanted to say I enjoyed your book, particularly the manner in which you connect institutional changes to variations in political outcomes.

    Kind of you to say (and kind of you to read the book).

    Do you have any inclination toward expanding your research to include a greater focus on the interplay of colombian politics and culture, or are you exclusively a political historian?

    I do plan to do more work on Colombia, specifically party and party system development. I have a working paper here that looks at ballot evolution over time (which builds on some things I mentioned in the book). I don’t really do culture, per se (but it depends on what you mean by that). Colombia is the case I study the most (from dissertation onward). I am more an institutionalist. The book I am working on now (which will be done soon—knock on wood) is a broadly comparative look at institutional variation across democracies in comparison to the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. @MarkedMan: That’s awesome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. James H says:

    He was looking like a fool with his pants on the ground.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. al-Ameda says:

    No surprise there. I’ve been told of (by friends who are lawyers) judges who have asked some who have appeared in court – in similar pants-down attire, or in skimpy halter top or micro miniskirt outfits – to go home home or otherwise change their appearance.

    Not all that long ago, many judges looked sideways at those attorneys who did not appear wearing a suit.

    It has to be a losing struggle for courts to maintain decorum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0