Dress for Arrest

Judges and district attorneys are people, just like you and me. Whether right or wrong, people often form initial impressions based on appearances; especially with respect to characteristics that are completely within an individuals control, such as their apparel. For example, a judge will likely make the assumption that a defendant is gainfully employed if they show up to court wearing their work uniform. The opposite assumption may be made by a district attorney when a defendant appears wearing house shoes and pajama pants. It’s for this reason that we advise our clients to “arrive early and dress professionally” when appearing in court.

I’ve seen plenty of defendants who clearly weren’t given that advice during my time in court. The following is a list of some of the worst examples of damaging apparel I’ve seen defendants sporting:

  • T-shirt that read “Unit 187 Homicide”
  • T-shirt that read “Play Ball” above a picture of a voluptuous female covered only by a baseball bat worn by a defendant charged with assaulting a female.
  • T-shirt that read “Only God Can Judge Me”
  • Pajama pants covered with marijuana leaves worn by (you guessed it) a defendant charged with possession of marijuana.

T-shirt that read “Villain” worn while Defendant was pleading guilty to possession of stolen goods. The Judge had him turn around, and asked onlookers to vote by way of raised hands as to whether or not wearing the shirt was respectful. He then threatened to give the Defendant “five extra days for stupidity”, but decided otherwise after Defendant gave a candid apology.