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Saggy Pants Are Not Police Business, Judge Rules

Saggy Pants Are Not Police Business, Judge Rules

Published September 19, 2008

Posted Sept. 18, 2008 – Government doesn’t have the right to penalize folks for wearing saggy pants, a Florida judge ruled Tuesday. "Somebody help me," Palm Beach Circuit Judge Paul Moyle, said mockingly before delivering his decision.

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"We're not talking about exposure of buttocks. No! We're talking about someone who has on pants, whose underwear are apparently visible to a police officer who then makes an arrest and the basis is he's then held overnight, no bond."

The case involved a 17-year-old who was picked up and arrested in the southeast Florida community of Riviera Beach for wearing low pants.

In March, voters approved an initiative banning pants that hang off the butt. It was put to a vote after critics of the prison-spawned fashion trend collected the 5,000 signatures needed to get it on the ballot.

The youngster had to spend the night in jail, instead of paying a $150 fine and doing community service, because he had a prior history of marijuana use, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Riviera Beach isn’t the first city to rally against low-riding pants with zero-tolerance laws. Among the other cities instituting fines and/or jail time include Delcambre, La., where violators can be fined $500 and locked up for up to six months, Dallas and Atlanta.

During the court proceeding Tuesday, Carol Bickerstaff, the public defender representing the 17-year-old asked told the judge, "Your honor, we now have the fashion police" and asked the law be declared "unconstitutional." Moyle wasted no time in agreeing with Bickerstaff.

Should government be able to dictate what people wear?  You be the judge by clicking on “Discuss Now,” on the upper right, and posting your comment.

Written by BET-Staff


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