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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trial Conduct: Lawyer denied right to wear baseball cap in court

A federal district court in New York has ruled that a lawyer has no free speech right to wear a baseball cap while appearing in court as a pro se litigant. (Bank v. Katz, E.D.N.Y., No. 08-cv-1033, 9/24/09). The lawyer's desire to make a “fashion statement” is not a fundamental right that trumps the state court's legitimate interest in “maintaining proper decorum, etiquette, and respect for the judicial process,” the court wrote. Judge Nicholas G. Garufis stated: “[I]t is appropriate for a court to expect litigants to appear in attire that is suitable to the dignity of a courtroom, rather than to show up in clothes they might have worn to a baseball game.”

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