Walkin' out of court with yo pants on the ground

Baggy pants ban

A sign that hangs in office of Lehigh County District Judge Wayne Maura's office banning baggy pants. (PAMELA LEHMAN, THE MORNING CALL / May 26, 2014)

Pants on the ground

Pants on the ground

Lookin' like a fool with yo pants on the ground

With yo gold in yo mouth

Hat turned sideways, pants hit the ground

Call yourself a cool cat, lookin' like a fool

Walkin' downtown with your pants on the ground

General Larry Platt, 62, on 'American Idol.'

For the record, District Judge Wayne Maura did not perform this rap song during Monday's contempt-of-court hearing for an 18-year-old man charged with insufficient trouser altitude. It would have been pointless, since Adam Dennis didn't attend.

Still, I can't help feeling this would have been the best outcome for a weird case that began when droopy-drawered spectator Dennis caught the eagle-eyed district judge's attention at a May 7 preliminary hearing.

Monday's hearing was the kind of event that leaves reporters marveling, "They pay me to do this?"

How often do you get to hear any judge use phrases like "completely below his buttocks?" How often do defense attorneys find themselves discussing whether that "very thin layer" — Maura's words — of white material sticking out of a defendant's pants is his underwear or white gym shorts? How often are three police officers summoned to keep the peace at an extraordinarily minor district court hearing?

The fact that I missed all this has left me inconsolable.

Maura fined Dennis $50 for showing up at somebody else's court hearing with drooping pants. Maura spotted him before that May 7 hearing started and had him escorted out of the courtroom to pull his pants up, then didn't notice him until he was leaving afterward — and showing too much white whatever. Maura followed him to confirm his fashion diagnosis, and the contempt citation ensued. The rest is pants-on-the-ground history.

Dennis was represented by Lehigh County's chief public defender, Kimberly Makoul, who also handled a previous hearing on the same matter. She said she probably will appeal.

There are a couple of ways to look at this.

The first is that people whose pants droop to their knees are jerks, and we should do whatever we can to help them recognize the error of their sartorial ways. Our society is going to hell, the argument goes, and these punks are a big reason why.

I don't care for this look, either, although I should confess that my pants fall down routinely at home, even with a belt. This has happened to me a few times while I was taking garbage cans to the curb and thus didn't have a free hand to pull my pants up. Only the cover of darkness saved me from an indecent exposure rap. I hope I'm not in Maura's district.

This is less about looking like a cool cat than a problem with narrow hips and improperly sized clothing. I find myself re-cinching my belt all day to avoid lookin' like a fool.

For that matter, I've been admonished for wearing my hat backward during Eating My Way Through Musikfest. Multiple people complained about my photos in the paper, including one who wrote:





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google Plus
  • RSS Feeds
  • Mobile Alerts and Apps