When LaMarcus D. Ramsey appeared in Alabama court yesterday to enter a plea on a charge of receiving stolen property, what he got was a three-day jail sentence for contempt of court for wearing so-called saggy pants. Circuit Judge John Bush told the 20-year-old his blue jeans were sagging too low and told him to get a belt when he gets out.
Not too surprisingly, there has been a bit of backlash against Circuit Judge John Bush, a man with more than 25 years on the bench, for the citation.
“People are asking me: Is this out of the norm?” Bush said.
“And I tell them ‘no,’ that the only thing that’s different is that most of the time I give a person five days in jail. This time, I gave the young man three,” Bush told the Montgomery Advertiser.
Ramsey appeared in the Autauga County Circuit Court on Tuesday to enter a plea on a charge of receiving stolen property. But, as mentioned in the above, what he found was a judge highly irritated with his low-hanging fashion statement.
“You are in contempt of court because you showed your butt in court,” Bush said to 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.”
The ill-advised saggy-pants phenomenon has come under direct criticism from lawmakers in several states.
“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 Daily Mail reports.
“The so-called ‘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 report adds.
“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.”
Judge Bush’s citation has received national attention, and, although a bit surprised, he says he thinks he understands why.
“I feel the public in general is sick and tired of the fundamental lack of respect we see in everyday life,” he said.
“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,” he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.