I recently saw a man in the Fairfax County courthouse hallway wearing a tee shirt that made me gasp in shock and left me so amazed at his poor judgment that I actually stopped dead in my tracks and asked out loud “what were you thinking when you got dressed this morning?” Fortunately, he was far enough away from me that he did not hear me and my question did not embarrass him in public.
So, what was so bad about the shirt this man wore to court? Well, let me describe it to you. It was a black shirt with large colorful letters that filled up the front of the shirt from the neck line all the way down to the waist line. The words on the shirt were “ON MY WORST BEHAVIOR” and yes, it was in all capital letters.
I have no way of knowing if the man was a defendant in criminal court, a party in a civil case, or if he was a witness who was there to testify. What I do know is that any judge who saw that shirt in court was not impressed. The words suggest disrespect for rules in a place whose primary purpose is to apply the rules of the land to people's individual circumstances.
In a criminal courtroom, anyone wearing a shirt like the one I saw is telling the judge they don't care about the law. The message you want to be sending is one of being sorry for mistakes and one of being a reasonable person who has the utmost respect for the law, the judge, and of course everyone who works in the court and criminal justice system. For that reason, I routinely advise my clients to come to court dressed modestly and conservatively.
There is no reason to show up in court for the drug docket (or any other docket for that matter) wearing a shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf or the middle finger saluting anyone who sees it. It can do nothing to help your case and will most certainly offend the judge, who happens to be the one person you do not want to offend in court. If someone can put you in jail, do you want to openly dare them to do it or insult them right before they decide what to do? If you do, you might be interested in this black shirt I recently someone wearing in court…