“What the hell is going on?”: Kentucky Judge Expressed Outrage at Jail Bringing Woman Into Court Without Pants

pantsThere was a deeply disturbing scene in Louisville when a female prisoner was brought into court without pants.  Kentucky Judge Amber Wolf  was rightfully irate and called the jail directly from the courtroom.  What is equally disturbing is that this woman was in court for simply failing to complete a diversion program on a 2014 shoplifting charge, but held for three days and denied feminine hygiene products in jail.

Wolf reacted honestly and asked “Excuse me? This is outrageous. Is this for real?”

You can then hear Wolf asked about why there was a defendant in your courtroom without pants.  She immediately changed her sentence to $100 and time served.  Wold asks if she has been entered into “the Twlight zone.”  In speaking with the jail she asks “What the hell is going on?” She added that “I am holding her here until she is dressed appropriately to go back to jail. This is outrageous.”

The video is not only a shameful indictment of the jail but an impressive response from Wolf who shows both decency and well-based outrage.

33 thoughts on ““What the hell is going on?”: Kentucky Judge Expressed Outrage at Jail Bringing Woman Into Court Without Pants”

  1. Am I the only one who is concerned that there’s a judge allowed to serve on the bench who assumes malfeasance on the part of Corrections? It seems to me that the judge should be removed from any bench where she might have to sentence a criminal since her presumptions and shown bias indicate that she’d sentence lighter than is proper whenever she could.

  2. The judge has some lack of judicial deportment. The routine of looking at the computer and phone and yaking around in different directions is goofy. The judge should demand that all arrested person be brought to court at 9 am the very next day and the situation decided.
    Jump suits are not the answer. They are insulting to the person clothed therein and the persons are innocent until proven guilty. In prison, not jail, an orange jump suite might be appropriate. Dragging some innocent person into court, into public view, is an affront to mankind. And womankind.
    Send our comments to the judge.

  3. Gotta love the people supporting the system in this abusive act. She had shorts on! See it with my arrow on the photo! Did she deserve 3 days locked up for not appearing for some shoplifting class? Doesn’t matter. See my arrow on the photo! Did the jail do its duty to properly clothe her for a court hearing, or at least put her in prison garb? No. Doesn’t matter. See my arrow on the photo! Should she have been given proper hygiene products? No. Doesn’t matter. See my arrow on the photo! Abused, demeaned, and treated like chattel for a shoplifting class absence. Doesn’t matter. See my arrow on the photo! Classy….

  4. I do know that we have a no shorts rule in the courts in AZ, so she should have been supplied with county pants. However, I think the judge over-reacted.

  5. Darren nailed it. Civilian clothes in a jail or prison are unacceptable. If simple security protocol was followed, this woman would be in a jail jumpsuit and not humiliated.

  6. @JisChinger

    What can I say? But, she spells both her first and last name differently from me. And, I always put “Girl Reporter” after my name so people who are bad spellers won’t freak out.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  7. hmmm… Squeeky Fromm is a rather odd name to have, invoking some pretty gruesome pictures in the minds of most people don’t cha think?

  8. Wish I could delete my comment above now – shame on me for not verifying the facts.

    “When the woman appeared in court Friday morning, Durham said it appeared that the judge took the defendant and her attorney at their word without verifying it.”

    “In the video, it does seem that as the woman walked into the courtroom, light-colored fabric, which appeared to be shorts, slipped out from underneath her T-shirt. The woman was seen wearing yellow shorts in her booking photo as well as in surveillance footage showing her release from custody.”

    “When asked about the woman’s claims that she was denied feminine hygiene products while she was in custody, Durham said that the jail has “an abundance” of products in the dorm and that “there’s no evidence she asked for anything at all during the time she was here.””

    So she was in her street clothes when arrested, which were summer shorts. Seems the problem here was being held for 3 days rather than 1 day for the attire she was wearing. IOW after 24 hours they should have given her a jump suit or let her go or schedule a new date if there was no judge to see her. This isn’t explained in the article.

    Doesn’t say why she was held for 3 days. Court Backlog?

    Why would she say she was denied feminine products when the opposite is true, or is it? Who is lying here, the woman or the state?

    How can someone be held on such a charge for 3 days without seeing a judge within 24 hours?

    The woman is an accused first time shoplifter – she didn’t show up to her diversion program – IOW she didn’t see fit to make restitution for the offense she committed. Was there an excuse given for that missed agreement?


    Are shorts not allowed in court?

    Did the judge overreact?

    If the woman had no pants or shorts on why didn’t the lawyer ask the people who transported her what was going on?

    Was this a ruse by the accused and her lawyer?

    If you do not pay close attention it would seem she is there in her underwear – the thought she was denied feminine products by the big bad jail then becomes more convincing and compelling.The authority figure’s (judge) outrage makes the accused that much more sympathetic to the viewer.

    One aspect that wasn’t mentioned is the woman is obese and her cloths are too tight – her bottoms were so tight and small they disappeared above her shirt. What the judge actually did was akin to asking a woman with a big belly (fat) if she is pregnant. IOW, the reaction by the judge was an embarrassment and insult to the accused woman. Others might ask why the accused is such a er… um…. conformist to fashion?

    My conclusion are:
    1. the system must work faster for these types of cases – if not, set up a new court date.
    2. be clear on a dress code in court. If there isn’t one then the question for all judges to ask is, “Did someone steal your clothes?”
    3. fine the lawyer if s/he is in on a ruse.
    4. if the accused wants to register any complaints the judge should offer a form at the end of the proceedings.

    I know both sides of this tale – the painfully cold endless red tape bureaucratic side and the trying to get away with what ever you can side. They both monumentally suck!

    This is the part of capitalism I hate the most. judges are nothing more than bankers for the system.

    This woman is not a kleptomaniac (mentally ill), she is poor in a nation where there is no reason to be, where the value of things is placed higher than the well being and growth; physical and spiritual, of the community of people.

  9. I’m not sure what the prisoner was wearing; panties, hot pants, gym shorts? None of which would be considered “pants” insofar as appropriate court attire. If Kentucky can’t afford jumpsuits for all of their prisoners, they should look into donations of old green or blue medical scrubs or something similar.

  10. Thank you, Steve Groen. The only problem is that the victim sues and the tax payer has to pay. But the system remains broken.

  11. Apart from the other choice words from this judge, one sentence stands out. Judge Wolf to defense counsel: “There’s only one way that’s going to get corrected.”

    Exhaust administrative remedies and, if denied, then file suit.

  12. Hmmm. The photo above did not look like she was in her panties. She might have been wearing briefs. Sooo, a little Girl Reporter work, and VOILA! She was wearing pants after all!

    Steve Durham, the jail’s assistant director and spokesman, said in an interview Saturday night that neither Wolf nor her lawyer checked to see that the woman had shorts on under a long T-shirt.

    “The judge drew a conclusion she didn’t have pants on and didn’t do anything to confirm that,” said Durham. “If we had taken somebody over with no pants on we should be held responsible. We didn’t.”

    Wolf couldn’t be reached Saturday night for comment.

    In an email to staff that was provided to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, jail director Mark Bolton said the defendant was handled the same way as 32,000 other people booked a year.

    “Perceptions do matter, but facts matter more,” Bolton said in the note.

    Neither the woman nor her lawyer were identified in a courtroom video, but the lawyer also told Wolf that her client also had been denied feminine hygiene products during three days in the jail.

    Durham said there is “an abundance” of such products available in the dorm where new inmates are housed.

    He also said it is the industry standard for people to be kept in the clothes they were wearing upon arrest for 72 hours. He said the defendant was arrested in Lexington, Ky., in the same outfit she wore to court.

    The defendant was charged with failing to show up for a diversion program after a conviction for shoplifting.

    The story was first reported by WDRB-TV, Louisville. According to a courtroom video, Wolf, apologizing to the woman profusely, called the jail and said, “I am looking for (Director) Mark Bolton or anyone who can come over and tell me why there is a female defendant standing here with no pants on?”

    While Wolf was on hold, she said to her staff, “Can we get her something to cover up with? Anything?”

    Metro Corrections Chief of Staff Dwayne Clark brought clothing to the woman and told Wolf that she should have been given a jumpsuit, the station reported.

    “Dressed like she was,” Clark said, “she should have been changed into a jumpsuit. I gotta look into why she wasn’t.”

    But Durham said the jail followed standard operating procedures, and that it was the sheriff’s office that brought her to the courtroom.

    “During warm summer months, we get people all the time who are wearing shorts and T-shirts and miniskirts and tank tops,” he said.


    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  13. Kentucky is the pants-optional state. No one at the jail was surprised that she was shuffling along with no bottoms.

  14. The first question is how can a jail be so lax in its security that it allows a prisoner to remain in their civilian clothes for that amount of time? The inmate could have contraband or a small weapon, such as a nail or razor blade, sewn into their clothing. Except for arrestees who will be posting bail shortly, they should make all booked prisoners change into jumpsuits. If the jail followed that basic level of security, incidents such as this will not occur.

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