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A Detroit judge threatened to lock up a defendant for the supposed crime of signing into his virtual Zoom hearing while wearing a t-shirt.
In the defendant’s defense, he’s a construction worker who’d signed into the hearing from his workplace.
But 36th District Court of Michigan Judge Ronald Giles wasn’t having it either way.
Watch what happened in the video below via Detroit station WJBK:
“I don’t do t-shirts in my courtroom,” the hearing began with the judge saying.
“I’m at a construction site,” the defendant, who could be seen on the right, replied.
The judge then went off.
“I don’t care where you’re at. Alright, when you come to court, you dress for court, because in my court, if you don’t dress for court, I’m going to dress you, which means I’ll send you to Wayne County Jail and let them dress you,” he said.
This prompted an unknown, anonymous woman to interrupt the hearing to give Giles a piece of her mind.
“That’s bull because it’s just court and we all at home …,” she said before being cut off.
“I suggest you shut your mouth and not be involved in this case, or you gon’ end up locked up!” the judge snarled.
The clip ended with the unknown woman saying, “That’s f–ked up, b—h.”
Judge William McConico, the chief judge of the 36th District Court of Michigan, apparently wasn’t thrilled by Giles’ behavior.
“My take is that it’s not a good look for the court. That’s not normally how court cases are conducted. I would say that a lot of judges would have made an exception because his work attire is construction. This is my work attire, you’re in yours. We are all in different professions,” he said to WJBK.
He added that he intends to speak with Giles, though he admitted that technically, the judge didn’t break any rules.
The defendant reportedly didn’t get in trouble. And stunningly, nor did the unnamed woman who’d trash-talked the judge — or at least not yet.
“I don’t know if they even know who the person was that was advocating in her own way for him, so that’s still the cliffhanger right now,” McConico said.
As for the defendant, he’s not the first suspect to appear in court in a T-shirt. Last November, a South Carolina thief also appeared in court with a T-shirt — namely the exact same T-shirt he’d worn when he’d reportedly stolen a package from someone’s porch.
The Goose Creek Police Department was thrilled by the unnamed man’s stupidity.
“[S]ometimes people actually do make our job easy. This guy decided to come into our courtroom the day after the first post was made and lucky for us he was even wearing the same shirt. We are happy to say he is in custody,” the department announced on Facebook at the time.
Not every story about a defendant wearing a T-shirt has been so pleasant.
In 2013, a then-18-year-old thug, Thomas M. “T. J.” Lane, who’d murdered three students at his Ohio high school showed up in court wearing a plain white t-shirt that had the words “killer” scrawled on it.
“After the convicted killer arrived in court for his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, he unbuttoned his blue button down shirt to reveal the T-shirt. There were gasps in the courtroom,” ABC News reported on March 20th, 2013. “Shortly after, Lane, 18, spewed vile and unprintable words at the families of three students he killed, gave them the finger and then laughed and smiled as they described him as an animal and a monster.”
He was sentenced to three life sentences without parole, so he apparently didn’t get the last laugh.
He did make headlines a year later when he escaped from a lower-level prison with two older men. But following his apprehension, he was placed into a maximum security prison far harsher than the one he’d originally inhabited.
“T.J. Lane spent the first 18 months in prison playing with Pokemon cards, using drugs, refusing to listen to prison guards and drawing the word ‘Killer’ on a notebook during an education class, state records show,” The Plain Dealer reported after his recapture.
In his post-apprehension home at Ohio State Penitentiary, a maximum state prison, he was “forced to spend 23 hours a day in a cell the size of a small parking space.”
His prison records show that he was eventually transferred to Warren Correctional Institution, another maximum security prison in Ohio.
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