Are You Showing Contempt? I’m Doing My Best to Hide it

Wake count signIn other news today, North Korea’s dictator ordered the execution of a government official after an investigation into the official’s “sitting posture at a parliamentary meeting.”

Before you shake your head at the sad fate Kim Yong-sin, executed by firing squad for bad posture, consider the outrage this week over Colin Kaepernick, who decided not to stand during the playing of the national anthem. If contempt of the flag were a crime, Kaepernick would be sentenced to hard labor by some folks – the same folks upset over his socks.

Humans love form over substance. It spares us from dealing with real issues, like the disrespect for citizens’ time as they are hauled into court for months or years on end to handle a misdemeanor Driving While Impaired case.

Consider the sign on the left. Proper attire required!

For a related, although not on-point case, consider Cohen v. California – “F**k the Draft!” – holding that states cannot censor their citizens in order to make a “civil” society.

Contempt is different. A judge has the power to enforce order within her courtroom. And part of the power can be to enforce a dress code.

The question is do we really need to shame people into “proper attire” when they’re coming to meet their government?

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.