Warren Zier could have used from blind justice this month when he appeared before Milwaukee Circuit Judge William Sosnay wearing an ascot. Putting aside the question of the stylistic choices of an ascot for a court appearance, Sosnay saw the item as a violation of court rules. However, prosecutor Zier could have a case — and a line of harrumphing ascot-wearing prigs in protest behind him.
The prosecutor was ruled out of line by the judge because the courthouse rules require neckties. While Zier’s red ascot matched his red handkerchief, it was still viewed as something of an eyesore for the judge.
“This is not about the definition of an ascot or a necktie,” Sosnay said in court, addressing a reporter in the gallery directly while a case waited to be heard. “This is an issue which I believe deals with the integrity of the court.”Then he called the neckwear inappropriate given his longstanding policy, which only Zier has flouted: no ascots in lieu of neckties for formal proceedings.
It was a true scene out of My Cousin Vinny. For those who did not see the scene . . .
Judge: Mr. Gambini?
Vinny: Yes Judge!
Judge: Are you mocking me with that outfit?
Vinny: Mocking you? No Judge I’m not mocking you.
Judge: Then explain that out-fit?
Vinny: I bought a new suit, you’ve seen it and now its covered in mud. So I had to get a new suit. And the only place in town where you can a new suit is closed for flu. Yeah, the whole store got the flu! So I had to buy this at a secondhand store. So its either the leather jacket which I know you hate or this! So I wore this, ridiculous thing for you!
As for the ascot, I disagree with Mr. Zier’s stylistic choice but I would die for this right to choose it, to paraphrase a patriotic mantra. Indeed, I think the good judge is blinded by his prejudice against the ascot class.
The ascot is formally called an “ascot tie,” and like the modern tie is traced to the same neckwear roots: the esteemed cravat. Of course, while technically neckwear, Mr. Zier’s choice would seem more appropriate for an invitation to the Ascot Racecourse, where the item got its name in the Edwardian era. I suppose, since it is viewed more appropriate to morning dress, the question should be the time of the hearing.
For the full story, click here