I expect this could become a recurring theme in this blog: friendly advice about what not to wear to court. My all time favorite example in this category comes from my days as an intern in the Alamance County DA’s Office.
It was an ordinary day in District Court, except we had a kindly old retired judge sitting on the bench as a Special Judge (read: substitute). At any rate, about mid-morning the Asst. D.A. calls up a lady who pleads guilty to a Drunk and Disorderly charge. When I see the eyes of the ADA and the Clerk widen, I look around at the Defendant to see what she has done to draw their gaze. That’s when I notice her T-shirt. That she wore to court. On a Drunk and Disruptive charge:
I kid you NOT.
Of course, we’re all looking at her, and then at the judge, and back and forth, because OBVIOUSLY this woman is about to get slammed by the judge. Instead, he gives her a very tame fine-and-court-costs punishment and sends her on her way. Finally, we take a break and someone asks the judge in the hallway during the recess about “that woman’s shirt.” The poor-old-kindly-retired-judge just returns a quizzical look. Turns out he didn’t see the shirt (old age and eyesight and all). The t-shirt is described to him, at which point his face turns red and he explodes into a rant about how, if he HAD seen the shirt, the woman would be serving 30 days in jail for contempt.
That would have been great. I might have bought him a beer.