New York Judge Rules It’s OK to Wear Saggy Pants
posted at 5:02 pm on August 3, 2010 by Howard Portnoy
The judge, Ruben Franco, threw out a summons issued to Julio Martinez of the Bronx for wearing his trousers so low as to let it all hang out. In his statement, the judge noted that “the Constitution still leaves some opportunity for people to be foolish if they so desire.” Franco added a caveat to his own ruling that may come back to bite him in the—well—gatkes. The stipulation was that “people can dress as they please, wear anything, so long as they do not offend public order and decency.”
So where does the good judge draw the line? The gentleman (and I use the term reservedly) in the photo on this page might strike some as crossing the line. And if this manner of dress is considered appropriate for public consumption, then what about the person who takes it one step further and heads outdoors in just his undershorts? Or who takes it a step beyond that and ventures out of doors with no pants at all? The ruling, in other words, has already begun its descent down the proverbial slippery slope.
In an effort to clarify his ruling, the judge only complicated matters by formally defining “offensive conduct” as “public in nature and” causing “inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to a substantial segment of the public.” This lends a capricious aspect to the ruling by muddying it up with emotionally words (such as “alarm”) and unspecific ones like “substantial segment of the public.” Which is tantamount to saying that if Julio Martinez had bothered more people or elicited a stronger reaction by “wearing his pants down below his buttocks exposing underwear” (the judge’s description), then the ticket he was issued would have been fitting and legal. Where does that leave the rest of us?
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