Judge dismisses contempt charge over sagging pants in courtroom

Judge dismisses contempt charge over sagging pants in courtroom

A Lehigh County judge today dismissed the contempt of court charge against a local teenager fined $50 for wearing sagging pants in court.

Following a hearing this morning where District Judge Wayne Maura testified, county Judge William Ford dismissed the contempt of court charge against Adam Dennis.

Maura had fined Dennis, who lived in Allentown at the time but recently moved to Macungie with his family, $50 following a June 9 sentencing hearing on the charge. That fine goes away, defense attorney Gavin Holihan said.

Attorney Kimberly Makoul, who defended Dennis at the contempt hearing and sentencing, had called the criminal contempt charge inappropriate and claimed the judge overstepped his bounds.

Before handing down his decision, Ford said he understands the difficulty that the magistrates and the judges have in maintaining the traditional decorum and appropriate dress and behavior in the courtrooms, but that holding someone in contempt is not the appropriate way to deal with those types of issues, Holihan said.

The judge felt a contempt citation usually requires behavior that is worse than just wearing clothes that are inappropriate, Holihan said, such as behavior that disrupts the actual court proceedings.

Reached by phone at his office, Maura declined to comment on the judge’s decision.

On May 7, Dennis came to Lehigh County Central Court at the county courthouse in Allentown to attend a preliminary hearing over which Maura was presiding. The courtroom is shared by all county district judges and does not include any signs about attire.

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