Tennessee Judges Require Criminal Defendants to Show Some Class

Judges in Nashville Tennessee who are fed up with defendants coming to court wearing flip-flops, “wife-beater” t-shirts, saggy drawers, and gangster wear are clamping down.

As reported by the Gannett News Service, Nashville attorney David Collins said he’s seen fishnet-type shirts worn by defendants who are wearing no bra, pants or shorts that hung down so low on the body that it’s almost a case of indecent exposure.

But the Davidson County Court Criminal Court Judge Cheryl Blackburn is instituting a strict dress code, borrowed from the public schools: Pants worn at the waist, no sagging or low-riding pants. No do-rags, bandannas, hairnets, or hoods are to be worn on the head. Visible undergarments and see-through clothing are banned, as are bare backs, chests or midriffs.

General Sessions Judge Angie Blackshear Dalton said: “This is court. It’s serious, and I think a part of coming to court is people letting us know that they’re taking it serious.”

General Sessions Judge Dan Eisenstein has ordered people in his courtroom to wear a blue paper hospital smock if they aren’t dressed appropriately. Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins has thrown defendants in jail for repeatedly failing to heed his warnings about their attire.

While General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland also objects to some the things some people wear in his courtroom, he cuts others some slack. He’s got no problem with mechanics and construction workers coming to traffic court greasy and dusty. They’re working and coming to court on a break

I would love to see dress codes adopted in my jurisdiction. I’ve never understood why a defendant would come to court looking like a thug when he wants to convince the judge he’s a good guy.


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