Americans Still Struggling With Pants

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Greece I'm back from Greece, without much to report in terms of legal developments there, at least during the last 2500 years or so.  Not that they didn't come up with some interesting stuff, like ostracizing unpopular politicians for ten years at a time (something to think about), but mostly it's a bit stale at this point to be featured in a blog post.  I will mention that there is apparently a law there at the moment that requires Greek drivers to pass any other car on the road regardless of risk or necessity.  I don't know how else to explain, for example, a driver passing three cars and a truck at once while going uphill on a narrow mountain road with another truck in plain view in the oncoming lane.  I seriously doubt he really needed to get somewhere in a hurry (see "no developments during the last 2500 years," supra).

Also, other big-firm lawyers may be interested to learn, as I did, that outside the office there is a large ball of fire in the sky that is able to burn the skin of any pasty-white litigator exposed to it for more than .5 hours or so.  Can they make a BlackBerry big enough to hide under?  God, I hope so.

Anyway, having returned I was happy to find out that, for purposes of this effort, not much had changed.  Case in point: America continues to struggle with pants-related legal issues.  Just before I left, Florida police made the first arrest under one of the ever-growing number of anti-baggy-pants ordinances.  And now I return to find that a Florida judge, in that very case, has made the first ruling striking down one of those ordinances as unconstitutional (as applied).

"Somebody help me [understand]," the judge was quoted as saying.  He pointed out that this was not even a buttock-exposure case.  "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.  No bond!"  I'm going to blame the reporter for that middle sentence, but the important thing is the ruling, which was that the law was unconstitutional as applied to "the limited facts of this case."  That was more important to the defendant than you might think, because though ordinarily he would have faced only a fine for the pants infraction, it turned out he was already on probation.  Police said the pants charge was a violation, and sent him to jail for that.  (And no bond!)

The defendant is not completely off the hook yet, but has been released on his own recognizance for the moment.  The public defender said her office was prepared to appeal if necessary, and I sure hope it will be.

Also back in the news: perennial favorite Roy Pearson, still pursuing justice although his 54-million-dollar lost-pants claim was less than successful in the trial court.  After a trial that featured some dramatic Pearsonian testimony, complete with actual tears, a D.C. judge ruled that his dry cleaners had not violated the consumer-protection law by failing to satisfy all his demands.  Pearson appealed (a development Custom Cleaners' attorney called "unsurprising"), and oral argument has now been set for October 22.

According to the report, despite their victory the defendants have since sold Custom Cleaners, citing stress and lost revenue due to the lawsuit.  Hopefully they are happier cleaners now at their new shop, Happy Cleaners.  Pearson, though, has not moved on.  He has not only appealed the pants case, but has also sued the D.C. government hoping to get his job back.  As you may recall, Pearson was an administrative judge for the District, but was not reappointed.  The commission denied that the decision had anything to do with the pants incident, but time will tell.

Link: Palm Beach Post (on the pants ruling)
Link: Toronto Star (same, but in Canada)
Link: (on the impending return of Judge Pearson)
Link: Legal Times (same)