Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Undies are out of order in his court

TAMPA — Circuit Judge Daniel Perry had seen one backside too many.

Tired of seeing inmates' underwear sticking out above their low-slung orange pants, Perry delayed court for 11/2 hours Wednesday morning. He ordered all 61 inmates on his docket back to jail so that the few wearing loose bottoms could change into pants that fit.

A day before, an inmate's exposed underpants had prompted the judge to cut court short.

"I do not want to see these people in here again with their rear ends hanging out of their pants," Perry said Tuesday, according to a transcript. "We're done."

His actions drew a quick response from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Deputies were reminded of proper sizing methods for inmates, and a selection of spare pants was delivered to the courthouse.

Score one for the judge in the case of Perry vs. Sagging Britches.

"The judge was justifiably frustrated," said Col. David Parrish, who runs the county's jails. "It should have been caught by my staff."

Perry was in no mood to comment Wednesday.

For insight into his aggravation, consider this: He saw an inmate's pants actually fall down in court earlier this year.

As the judge who hears probation violation cases, Perry decides whether inmates stay on probation or go to prison. Reasonable people, said defense attorney Rick Terrana, would try hard to make a good impression on the judge.

"Walking into court with your pants behind your knees is about the most unfavorable impression you can make," he said. "It's like a slap in the face of the court."

He had a case before Perry on Wednesday morning but didn't mind the inconvenience.

"We're used to delays around here," he quipped.

Debra Villano rushed from her home in Spring Hill to attend a friend's 8:30 a.m. hearing. An hour later, she was among about 30 restless people still waiting outside Courtroom 16B. A sign hung on the door: Court will be delayed waiting for transport of inmates. Not sure how long.

Villano didn't quibble with the judge's gripe but rather with how he made his point.

"It's very disrespectful" of people's time, she said. "That's the jail that failed. It shouldn't have been put on anybody here."

Jail officials fight a constant battle to get inmates to keep their pants up. The sagging style is believed to have started in prisons where belts or drawstrings were considered safety hazards. It's believed that the style was then picked up on the streets after being embraced by rap artists.

But Parrish said the inmates aren't ultimately to blame.

Deputies shouldn't hand out oversized uniforms, he said. It's up to them to make sure that a man with a 30-inch waist doesn't end up in a pair of XXL pants, and the deputies who drive inmates to court should double-check attire, he said.

Perry called Parrish on Tuesday about the problem. After it occurred again Wednesday, the jails chief vowed to make things right.

"I'm not going to have this come up again," Parrish said. "That may be cool fashion to some people out on the street, but it's not what we expect in the jail system."

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at or (813) 226-3337.

Undies are out of order in his court 09/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 2:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  2. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  3. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  4. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  5. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)


    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]