An Attorney Was Put in Jail for Wearing a 'Black Lives Matter' Pin

Screenshot via WKBN27.
Screenshot via WKBN27.

Last week, Ohio attorney Andrea Burton was given five days in jail for contempt of court by Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Robert Milich when she refused to remove her “Black Lives Matter” pin. But he says it was an objective decision.


Milich spoke with WKBN27 about his order, saying his personal opinions didn’t influence him when he chose to put a woman in jail for wearing a pin. He doesn’t say what his opinions are, so let’s not jump to any conclusions here:

“A judge doesn’t support either side,” he said. “A judge is objective and tries to make sure everyone has an opportunity to have a fair hearing, and it was a situation where it was just in violation of the law,” he said.


Unfortunately, it looks like Judge Milich absolutely has the right to insist that attorney’s in his courtroom dress to his standards. A judge may prohibit symbolic political expression in courtrooms, even ones quietly attached to a lapel.

Burton was released early on stay as her case is appealed. She didn’t comment on the case, but legal counsel for the local chapter of the NAACP and other Youngstown activists compare the pin to an American flag, cross, or Star of David in terms of expression. Judge Milich responded, “There’s a difference between a flag, a pin from your church or the Eagles and having a pin that’s on a political issue.”

That really depends on the context, I suppose. I’d find a lawyer in fan gear for The Eagles extremely distracting in a court room.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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