Connecticut’s New Underwear Advisement in Criminal Courtrooms

As I sat in a Connecticut courtroom on Friday, the judge came out and issued the usual advisements: every defendant had the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to a jury trial, and the right to be treated with respect.

A few minutes later, however, an additional and unusual advisement was issued from His Honor’s bench. And it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this particular advisement in a Norwalk, Stamford or Bridgeport Connecticut criminal courtroom. It was the UNDERWEAR ADVISEMENT—that defendants did NOT have the right to appear before the court with their underwear sticking out. That they had to pull up their pants—in front and in back—and that if the judge saw anyone’s underwear sticking out, they would be held in contempt of court.

Has it come really come to this? An underwear advisement?

Of course it has, and here’s why…

Someone Tell the President – Respect for the Judiciary Starts at the Top

It’s no surprise that anyone arrested in Bridgeport, Norwalk or Stamford Connecticut may not respect judges and the court process when our own President tweets about “so-called judges” when the POTUS doesn’t like a court ruling. This was a low-blow to judges across the country and an extremely disheartening commentary on the President’s deliberate attempt to rhetorically undermine the credibility of the judiciary and law enforcement.

The system cannot work effectively if its own participants and lawmakers are not setting the tone properly. I moderated a Professionalism Seminar a few months ago, where some of the State’s best judges, defense attorneys and prosecutors participated on a panel. We had 25 attendees out of a criminal defense bar of hundreds.   Again, courtroom decorum and professionalism needs to begin with the everyday participants like the lawyers.

Top 10 Don’ts in the Bridgeport, Stamford & Norwalk Criminal Courts

As any of the best criminal lawyers in Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk Connecticut know, there are a few pet peeves of judges you can avoid—in addition to having your underwear stick out—to make sure you don’t offend the judges. Every judge has their own preferences and rules, so listen carefully to their advisement that they recite to the courtroom at 10am, and then follow those rules.

Here are the Top 10:

-Don’t chew gum in court.

-Turn off your cell phones.

-Address the judge as “Your Honor” and NOT “Sir” or “Ma’am.”

-Don’t fall asleep in court.

-Don’t bring your kids to court.

-Don’t read the newspaper in court.

-Don’t wear tee shirts or sandals to court.

-Men should be clean shaven.

-Keep your hands out of your pockets when you’re standing before the judge.

-Don’t say “yeah,” “yep” or “nope.” It’s “Yes Your Honor” or “No Your Honor.”

The Mark Sherman Law Firm

The team of Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys are well-versed in courtroom procedures and etiquette. We’ve defended clients against contempt and disorderly conduct allegations, and can work with you and your family to help you get the best result possible for your Connecticut criminal case. For more information on our law firm, check out our Avvo.com certified client reviews, and then give us a call for a consultation. We are available at (203) 358-4700 to take your call.