9.17.2008

Baggy pants ban "unconstitutional," rules US judge

MIAMI (AFP) - A Florida judge has deemed unconstitutional a law banning baggy pants that show off the wearer's underwear, local media reported Tuesday.


A 17-year-old spent a night in jail last week after police arrested him for wearing low pants in Riviera Beach, southeast Florida.


The law banning so-called "saggy pants" was approved by city voters in March after supporters of the bill collected nearly 5,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.


The teen would have received a 150 dollars fine or community service, but he spent the night in jail due to a history of marijuana use, the Palm Beach Post newspaper said.


"Somebody help me," said Palm Beach Circuit Judge Paul Moyle, before giving his decision.


"We're not talking about exposure of buttocks. No! We're talking about someone who has on pants whose underwear are apparently visible to a police officer who then makes an arrest and the basis is he's then held overnight, no bond."


"Your honor, we now have the fashion police," added public defender Carol Bickerstaff, who asked the law be declared "unconstitutional."


The judge agreed with Bickerstaff immediately, reported the Post.

Laws that ban low-slung pants are on the books in several US cities, including Delcambre, Louisiana, where offenders can be fined up to 500 dollars or jailed for up to six months.


Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia are among the larger US cities considering similar measures.


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i don't wear baggy pants that show off my underwear. i think it's baduy. but if someone wants to dress that way, who am i to tell him not to dress as he pleases?


neither do i wear sando to school. seldom do i wear slippers. but should we exclude those who choose to dress that way from learning the law in the grand manner?


in the first place, what substantial interest are we advancing in imposing a dress code? the college's concern to look professional? its concern to set itself apart from the rest in diliman? or its goal towards achieving a higher bar passing rate?


having a dress code reinforces the one thing i hate about lawyering: pretense. we put so much premium on our appearance, on our "performance" and decorum in court, but come to think of it, how much have we (lawyers and lawyers-to-be) contributed towards improving this country?


frankly, i have more respect for a jesuit volunteer in slippers sent to some remote area than for a lawyer dressed in an armani suit who thinks of nothing else but billable hours.


the clothes do not make the man. the greatest tragedy is perhaps for a man to be respected solely for the clothes that he wear, and for nothing else.

1 comment:

ros said...

"how much have we (lawyers and lawyers-to-be) contributed towards improving this country?" - I've always asked myself why there's still so much injustice and suffering when they say our country is overflowing with lawyers. I must say they bring pure shame to the real meaning of the profession. And tsk, I used to wear slippers 24/7 in school. ngayon, bawal na..