Lorain Municipal Court Judge Mark Mihok held Durrell Brooks in contempt of court Thursday and ordered him jailed because Brooks’ pants were riding too low, exposing his underwear to the court.
Mihok said the incident with Brooks was the third time in the past month or so he’s sent someone to jail for problems with their wardrobe.
“They’re all adults who come into this court, so they should know how to dress themselves at this point,” Mihok said. “I hope it’s a fad that ends soon.”
Brooks was attending a hearing with a woman, Sidney Jackson, who was facing a failure to control charge for a May 29 auto accident, when he approached the bench to tell Mihok that he had insurance on the car Jackson was driving, the judge said.
Mihok said from the front Brooks’ shirt covered his underwear, but when Brooks turned around, he could clearly see the exposed underwear and ordered him arrested.
The judge said he doesn’t believe the rules he has in place for behavior in his courtroom are unduly burdensome. People will get in trouble if their cell phones ring, for instance, but he said he understands that people will show up in court wearing shorts, sandals and T-shirts and he doesn’t mind.
“At least you have to have your pants up,” Mihok said. “I don’t think I’ve set the bar too high.”
He said about three weeks ago he took issue with a man who came into court and whose pants were riding so low that when he sat down in a chair no part of his pants actually touched the chair. He said that man, whose name he could not recall, had previously been warned by court security officers to pull up his pants.
About a week before that, Mihok said, a man with low-riding sweatpants appeared before him and the man, whose name he also didn’t remember, kept putting his hands down his pants. That man also had been warned about his appearance by court staff.
Both of those men ended up spending time behind bars, Mihok said.
He said the issue isn’t just a matter of decorum, but so that those who come into his courtroom feel safe. Even though those he’s sent to jail have apologized, he believes they crossed a line, the judge said.
“I felt I had no choice,” Mihok said.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.