A woman brought to a Louisville, Kentucky court on Friday had apparently been denied repeated requests for both pants and feminine hygiene products, prompting a mortified judge to take the matter into her own hands.
According to WDRB, the woman was arrested for failing to complete a diversion program on a 2014 shoplifting charge, and had been held for multiple days without the asked-for items.
“No pants, what?” Judge Amber Wolf said in disbelief when the woman’s attorney quietly mentioned the issue. The video is time stamped Friday, July 29, and the woman asserts that she’d been wearing the same clothes since she was taken into custody on Sunday.
This news came as quite a shock to Wolf. “Excuse me?” she said. “This is outrageous. Is this for real?” She then whipped out a cell phone to call Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton and ask why, exactly, there was a female defendant in her courtroom without pants on. Her horror at the pants situation was matched only by her disgust at the recommended 75 day sentence.
“It’s a shoplifting charge, a first time shoplifting charge,” she fumed into the phone. “No. We’re not giving her that.”
Officials attempted to explain away the problem by saying the woman was wearing athletic shorts, though they failed to comment on the issue of the hygiene products:
Jail officials said the woman was wearing athletic shorts, which were hidden by a long shirt. Steve Durham, a spokesman for the jail, said the woman had not been in custody long enough to be given a jail jumpsuit.
“This is pretty standard that when individuals are arrested, they remain in the clothing that they’ve been arrested in,” Durham said. “Especially for the first 72 hours.”
Putting aside the basic inhumanity of denying a person proper clothing for three days in a jail with likely wildly fluctuating temperatures, the most offensive thing about the woman’s predicament is that she shouldn’t have spent nearly that much time in custody in the first place. Around the 6:40 minute mark, Wolf tells Metro Corrections Deputy Director Dwayne Clark:
“I can tell you with a decent amount of certainty—not because of me—that this is probably going to go a little further than this in that it may be a media situation.”
“The worst part of about this is that this is her only charge ever. She was picked up on a bench warrant on a diversion case that she failed to complete. She should have been in jail for maybe a day, and then out.”
Clark brought clothing to the woman, and admitted that she should have been given a jumpsuit. Remember, a breach in protocol can land a defendant in jail, but when the Law fucks up?:
By the time jail officials talked with WDRB, they denied there had been any problem.
Wolf apologized profusely and insisted that the situation was not normal.
Actually, the woman responded, there were many other women being held in situations similar to hers. The defense attorney also added that some were being denied showers.
The woman was released that day on a $100 fine. It’s unclear whether the others were lucky enough to have their own injustices remedied by anyone as competent as Wolf, but I’ve got a pretty good guess.