The power a judge has to jail someone for contempt of court is rarely exercised.
Except for in the case of one judge.
A WGN/Medill Watchdog at Northwestern investigation found that Cook County judge Gloria Chevere uses it more than any other judge in Cook County.
While most judges use it one or two times, at most, a year, the investigation found Chevere had used it 30 times over a four-year period.
In eight of those cases, she had sent men to jail for contempt of court for wearing saggy pants.
Court documents show a case in which one man, Fred Brown, was charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing. Prosecutors dismissed his charge, but Chevere still had him handcuffed and taken away for contempt of court because his pants were sagging.
In another case, Stevon James arrived late to his court appearance. Judge Chevere had apparently instructed those in court before his arrival to pull up their pants. But he never got the message, and when he arrived with his pants undesirably low, she called him in contempt, as well.
Another man, Tony Bush, tried to make sure his pants weren’t sagging before he approached the judge. Nonetheless, when it was his turn, she said his pants were too low, and Bush was sent to jail. He tried debating with her that it was impossible to see his underwear.
When asked to discuss her use of contempt, Judge Chevere declined to comment.