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by Peter Moskos

December 8, 2014

Court Attire

Yet another from Plantinga's 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman. My friend Dan gave me aline about people showing up for court "in their best sweatpants." That always stuck with me.
Many defendants dress casually, even for felony trials. The collared shirt is a rarity. Most wear what they might don to watch Saturday morning cartoons, like a shirt that says Lucky Charms or flip-flops and shorts. Or an oversized football jersey and their good jeans, the ones with the embroidered dragon on the rear pockets. Defendants will show up for trial on a marijuana sales case wearing a shirt with a marijuana leaf design, not on a dare, or as some kind of political statement, but because they’re so oblivious that they put the shirt on and don’t think anything of it. My partner Steve recently told me of watching a defendant stand before the judge during sentencing wearing the latest urban T-shirt that said No Remorse in bold script, a choice of apparel that probably made the man’s defense attorney, at the very least, loosen his tie.

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