Judge Melissa Goodwin of Austin was convinced that her court needed a dress code when a female defendant came before the bench wearing a skirt that revealed her underwear – “from the bottom,” says the Austin American-Statesman. Judge Brenda Kennedy knew rules on dressing were in order when a male defendant’s pants hung low on his way toward her, revealing his underwear, and then fell to the floor as he walked away. “I don’t know if there’s no common sense left, or if people just don’t care anymore,” said Kennedy. “It’s gotten progressively worse the last two years.”
This summer, Goodwin and Kennedy posted signs listing prohibited clothing, including shorts, short skirts, muscle shirts, pajamas, hats, house shoes, and shirts with obscene language. One rule says: “Those wearing pants or skirts must not have any underwear/underclothing exposed.” The judges ask defendants in violation of the dress code to go home and change or reset their cases until a later date. said Lawyer Keith Lauerman counsels defendants that dress is “a small, subtle factor” in the outcome of a case. Kennedy agreed. She has seen drug defendants show up for court with spoons designed for snorting cocaine hanging from their necks, or wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a marijuana leaf.