Richard S. Lundin
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Personal injury and family law attorney licensed to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia

Don’t Jingle Your Pocket Change…or Do Other Things that Annoy the Judge

When in court, it’s important to not annoy the judge or make a bad impression while waiting for your case to be called.

Several years ago I saw a judge raise his voice and reprimand a man who was standing at the table nervously jingling his pocket change.  That only made the man more nervous.  But a good reminder to always keep your hands out of your pockets when you stand before a judge.

Here’s a list recently published by a Montgomery County Family Magistrate on what not to do in her courtroom:

        1.  Wearing inappropriate attire or having a sloppy appearance that suggests the person does not understand the significance of the proceedings and respect for the court system.

       2. Chewing gum, drinking or eating.

       3. Checking emails or texts or anything on their phones.  Failing to silence the cell phone.

       4. Failing to remove a hat.

       5. Appearing angry or with an attitude; or acting rude.   

Why does this matter?  Because the judge must determine the credibility of the witnesses, including the parties themselves.  Demeanor and appearance and conduct are important factors in that determination.   

Of course, exceptions can be granted by the judge for a good reason (e.g., you have a medical condition that causes dry mouth and you need to chew gum; or you need your phone on in case of a pending family emergency).  In those cases, just ask the judge for permission.



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