Pinocchio may not have know what to do facing the judge, but in most cases even people who have never been to court before will allow themselves to be guided by common sense. They will arrive early and dress, act appropriately and tell the truth – hopefully.
Others, however, don’t take this type of situation seriously. When this happens things can go very, very wrong.
- Don’t show up drunk. In May of this year, a South Carolina crime victim admitted to drinking a double shot of vodka 30 minutes before her 9 a.m. court appearance. Officers administered a breathalyzer test at the scene and determined that 27 year-old Megan Szraga had a blood alcohol content that was more than twice the state’s legal limit. Szraga was booked into the county jail and charged with public drunkenness.
- Don’t slap your attorney’s backside. In June 2013, former NFL reciever Chad Johnson Ochocinco was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail for violating a probation order. The probation order stemmed from a domestic violence case with his ex-wife. Court records indicate he was about to be granted a plea deal that would have allowed him to enroll in counseling and community service. The judge asked the defendant if he was pleased with his attorney and that, it seems, is when Johnson slapped his attorney’s backside. The judge was not amused and rejected the deal. Johnson was arrested on the spot.
- Don’t attack the bailiff. A Kentucky man faced additional charges after he attacked a bailiff in open court. Defendant Kristopher Bacanskas bum-rushed the court employee after his preliminary hearing. Jail records show that Bacanskas then brought up on additional counts of assault and escape.
- Don’t go to family court dressed like a Nazi. A New Jersey man who went to family court in hopes of gaining visitation with his son attended the hearing in a Nazi uniform. The man said he didn’t see anything wrong with his choice in attire and that he simply wanted to be a good dad to his child.
- Don’t hit on the judge. A Florida motorcycle owner who was pulled over for speeding apparently thought that hitting on the judge would get him out of his ticket. He told the judge he was pulled over because he mistakenly drove through the city without his shirt on and that his buff bod caused a car of college-aged girls to chase after him. The defendant lifted up his shirt in hopes of making an impression. The judge was not amused, found him guilty and ordered him to pay a $200 fine.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are tons of reports about people appearing in costume, people walking into the courthouse with weapons and defendants who try to scream, yell and argue their way out of their case.
If you happen to find yourself in a position where you need to appear a judge, remember this. You will find that dressing and acting appropriately will get you a lot farther than behaving out of order.