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Going to court on charges of statutory rape is no laughing matter. Unless you are ex NY Giant Lawrence Taylor. The NY Daily News reports that 51-year-old Taylor showed up to a court hearing in great spirits, laughing and hugging friends as he entered the Rockland County Court. Currently, Taylor is deciding whether or not to accept the plea bargain or head to trial.
Lawrence Taylor's case over a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old runaway is getting closer to trial but you wouldn't know that by looking at his casual attire. The NY Daily News quotes Taylor's lawyer Arthur Aidala, "My client asked me to profusely apologize to the court for not having a jacket and tie." Although the judge found Taylor to be "suitably attired," this does beg the question: What is appropriate courtroom attire?
Lawrence Taylor is accused of paying $300 to have sex with a 16-year-old. He showed up to court wearing black pants and a black bowling style shirt. The punishment for statutory rape can be a felony with mandatory prison time, probation, fines, and registering as a sex offender. With such serious punishments, Taylor's attire likely should have respected the gravity of the situation.
Although there is room for individual (and religious) expression when it comes to courtroom attire, it is a process that deserves respect on all levels, including clothing. In addition to respecting the court and the charges, dressing up for court is also something a jury may take into account when evaluating the plaintiff and defendant. For Lawrence Taylor's sake, here's hoping this will be the last time he will show up to court without a suit.