An Alabama judge who sentenced a man to 3 days in jail for contempt of court for wearing pants that sagged below his butt has told how he is shocked by the attention his decision has received.
It was Tuesday afternoon in an Autauga County Circuit Court where LaMarcus Ramsey, 20, was to enter a plea on a Charge of Receiving Stolen Property, when he was ordered by Circuit Judge John Bush to buy pants that fit or a belt when he leaves jail.
Judge Bush took issue with Ramsey’s choice of ill-fitting clothing. “You are in contempt of court because you showed your butt in court,” Bush told Ramsey. “You can spend three days in jail. When you get out you can buy pants that fit, or at least get a belt to hold up your pants so your underwear doesn’t show.”
He says he is shocked by the interest his citation has received, but defended his decision. “I feel the public, in general, is sick and tired of the fundamental lack of respect we see in everyday life.”
“This is the courtroom. You need to respect the building and what it stands for. This is not my courtroom. This is the people’s house. And the citizens of the 19th Judicial Circuit of Alabama expect me to preserve the dignity and respect of their courtroom, Judge Bush said.”
Judge Bush, who has more than 25 years experience, says Ramsey got off lightly. “People are asking me ‘Is this out of the norm?’,” he told reporters. “And I tell them ‘no’, that the only thing that’s different is that most of the time I give a person 5 days in jail. This time, I gave the young man three.”
The judge’s decision follows a clamp down across the United States against the saggy pants phenomenon which has come under direct criticism from lawmakers.
The people of Montgomery County, Alabama have been threatened with fines of up to $150 for wearing their pants below their hips in a February bill put before state lawmakers.
The “saggy pants” law which will only apply to Montgomery County was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Alvin Holmes who has stated that he finds it disrespectful when young people wear pants that sag below the hips.
The bill, which has yet to be made law, calls for a fine of up to $100 for juveniles and $150 for adults cited for loose fitting pants that fall below the hips in public places.
Lawmakers face resistance from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which say the law violates personal freedom and targets minorities, Siplin was unapologetic.
And in a tragic turn of events associated with the fashion the parents of a 14-year-old boy who drowned last Friday in Saraland, Florida, believe the saggy pants their son was wearing led to his drowning.
Shadow Tidwell, 14, was spending time with friends on a waterside dock when the boy fell into the water, said his father.
The 8th grader was not a good swimmer and the saggy pants he was wearing got soaked in the water, became too heavy and pulled him under, rescue crews told Shadow’s family.