Articles Posted in Arraignment and In-Court Appearance Tips

This post isn’t titled “Mr. Kickham’s Best-Dressed list,” but here goes anyway: I’m sure you have all seen the images, out on public streets, and in social media. What am I talking about? Young men, wearing their pants so low that their underwear is completely exposed, their belt is to their knees, and they wind up stepping on their pants legs, which are bunched down at their shoes. It drives me bonkers.

This style of dressing is anything but dignified, anything but admirable, anything but mature, and anything but flattering. It inspires descriptions of “moron”, “loser,” “idiot,” “uneducated,” and “unsophisticated.” It’s pathetic and laughable. So, as a Boston, Massachusetts sex offenses lawyer, I am constantly shocked when I see young men appearing in a court of law dressed the same way. I don’t allow it with my younger clients. I require my clients to dress respectably and as adults when they are in court. Period. By no means do the clothes need to be expensive; by no means do they need to be “fashion-forward” – at all. But I will not allow my clients to appear by my side in front of a judge, looking like they are wearing pajamas. and most of them do. What I’m discussing here are the many clueless other young male defendants that I see in courthouses all over eastern Massachusetts.

“What are these kids thinking?,” I constantly ask myself. Do they really think that they are putting their best foot forward? Don’t they realize that they are essentially putting a “bad cover” on what judges and juries may interpret as a “bad book? Each of them looks like an idiot, like a complete malcontent. Worse, I ask myself what their lawyers are thinking, in allowing their clients to appear in court like this. Dressing that way is tantamount to wearing a sign that says, “I’m screwed up; I don’t know how to conduct myself or present myself appropriately; I don’t respect authority, and I don’t respect this court.” They may as well display an obscene gesture to the judge. Yet, stunningly to me, even though I see the frowns on some judge’s facial expressions when these defendants come before them, too few say anything. The reason? They’re just too busy trying to get the business of a crowded court docket, completed. On any given day, most District Courts in Massachusetts are packed full of criminal cases and criminal defendants, together with civil cases, and most judges just want to move things along as efficiently as possible.