Judge jails men for contempt of court — for wearing saggy pants

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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.


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  • darnell bunch

    Her act’s are so unfair,you know their is some prejudice going on here.To lock these black men up and,’her boss is black man’ is a total disrespect to him. Don’t he know that he can change things and hold her respondsible for her actions.

  • Tom Mack

    Tom Dart is a crybaby. When Sheahan was sheriff in 2002 their was over 12,000 inmates. Today their is less than 9,000. The judges have used better discretion but that doesn’t keep TV Tom Dart from lying about the numbers and grandstanding.

  • Gloria Evans

    Speaking of TV Tommy Dart how did the media get a camera into the courtroom? It is against the law in Illinois to allow cameras in the courtroom. Perhaps the Chief Judge Evans can investigate TV Tommy for this.

  • Adrian

    Good for the judge! The courtroom is a place where everyone has to appear in an appropriate manner. One can’t show up with your intimate garments showing to the world and not expect repercussions. I hope she stays on the job for as long as possible. Bravo!

  • MrKrabs

    Good for her! We live in a society that no longer values courtesy, punctuality, and appearance. Job interviews, court appearances, worship, weddings, funerals, etc. don’t seem to warrant a higher level of respect.

  • MrKrabs

    This wonderful fashion statement comes from guys who have been put in jail. When they process someone, they take away belts, shoe lases, etc. (the stuff you can do something stupid with). If pants are loose, they drop to the hips. Somehow it evolved into sign of passage…not a tough guy until you’ve been in jail or prison. Something to be proud of.

  • agent

    Nothing but a waste of tax payers money. and for those who side with judge look at all the corrupt judges in this state who have been put behind bars lots of abuse of power.

  • Marthastew

    Sheriff Dart is right to complain because the jails are already too overcrowded. Of those, how many of them are baggy pants-related? I think she’s abusing her power and from the images I Googled, she’s probably a man-hater. Besides, if you’re skinny and have no rear end to speak of your pants are going to drop, belt or no belt.

  • Sean

    Wow, perfect example of what’s wrong with society. Rather than seeing the problem being the lack of respect for self as well the public, we’ve got reporters pointing out how this judge is picking on these guys, who are disrespecting the court. I wish more people enforced decency laws.

    It may be thought as pop culture, and self image, but look what that image is perceived as, the thug element, which yeah, shows how “hard” you are… … … Or more likely, how little respect you have for yourself and your family. Yet we perpetuate this cycle of accepting this “thug” lifestyle, by embracing it and accepting it as the norm for certain class of people rather than condemning it as a stereotype not to be lived down to.

  • jasonn allen

    @ tom mack u knew the estimated figure of the inmates @ the jail but didnt say why that figure is like that lol..The county was forced to reduce the poulation because of over crowding by the feds and if it was up to judges like her,then it would be 20 thosand..

  • Bill

    I have been in this judge’s court room and she gives fair warning. The warning is specific about showing underwear and that it shows disrespect to the court. She warns that anyone approaching the bench wearing saggy pants will spend time in jail. She also states that her speech is being documented by the court reporter that fair warning has been given, so any appeal would be lost. So, if you do it after being warned, you get what you deserve! If a person was late and didn’t hear her speech, then shame on him for being late for court. In fact, if you are late for court, you deserve to be locked up anyway on a warrant for failing to appear in court. Your court papers don’t say “show up when you like!” Saggy pants are NOT acceptable attire for a court appearance. The only miscarriage of justice here is WGN calling this news reporting. Shame on WGN for calling this judge out by name. This “investigation” should have been a feature praising this judge for being the only judge to stand up and demand respect in her court room. WGN Investigates….report on some real issues and stop making something out of nothing when these men were locked up for their own stupidity. Here’s a concept….be law abiding and don’t end up in court. In fact, do more and be something in society other than saggy pant wearing criminal.

  • Clint

    Respect for the court is expected and good for her to enforce it. Which she has every right and authority to. The sad part is that respect for the public can’t be enforced. I’ve always been told to wear slacks to court in Texas, where jeans are standard public attire. Just because someone shows authority doesn’t mean they are abusing their power. In this case they are teaching them values that their parents were to lazy to enforce.

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