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Defendant Wears “Crime Pays” Tee-Shirt to Court Hearing

Murder Defendant Shows Up at Hearing with Offensive Shirt

Judge & gavelIn a Philadelphia courtroom last month, a man charged with murder and arson in the strangling death of a 23-year-old art student appeared at his preliminary hearing sporting a tee shirt with the words “Crime Pays” on the front. Municipal court judge Teresa Carr Deni noted that the defendant, 22-year-old Jeremiah Jakson, had “a very interesting choice of shirt.” Jakson claimed that he had no other clothes when he was arrested, so he was given the shirt to wear. Before concluding the hearing, the judge requested Jakson’s counsel to determine how the defendant obtained the shirt.

Psychologists contend that what you wear and don’t wear to court can have a significant impact on the outcome of a trial. Both juries and judges can be influenced by your attire. Studies consistently show that defendants who are perceived to be more attractive or well-dressed are generally viewed as more credible, tend to receive lighter sentences, and are more likely to be acquitted.

Most recommend that you “wear what you would wear to church.” For male defendants, this generally means wear a conservative suit and a conservative tie. According to experts, this serves a number of purposes:

  • It makes you look like everyone else, so that jurors and judges don’t see you as standing out.
  • Suits are the uniforms of the corporate culture, and the corporate culture can be a powerful symbol of belonging.

For a female defendant, experts believe that a conservative business suit is also the best choice.

Contact Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A.

At Aronberg, Kouser, Snyder & Lindemann, P. A., our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience protecting the rights of men and women in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For a confidential meeting, contact us online or call our office at 856-429-1700. Your first consultation is free of charge.

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