Thursday, April 27, 2006


Jean-Marc Brun is scheduled to be sentenced in front of Judge Cooke. His lawyer, Milton Hirsch, filed a motion with Judge Marcia Cooke "to permit witness to wear hat in court." You may have seen Joan Fleischman's article covering this important litigation. Here's a piece from the article: "[Character witness] Eber always wears a cowboy hat -- his trademark. But hats are generally a no-no in court. 'We seek . . . an order granting Mr. Eber leave to wear his hat . . . in the courtroom during sentencing proceedings,' Hirsch's motion says. Eber, whose flagship salon is on fancy-schmancy Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, has styled the tresses of Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Farrah Fawcett. From Hirsch's motion: 'His hat is a recognized and recognizable feature of his own style and fashion. . . . There is nothing more American than the notion that one man's nonsense is another man's cachet. Can we imagine Charlie Chaplin's lovable tramp without his bowler? Sherlock Holmes without his deerstalker? Humphrey Bogart as Richard Blaine in Casablanca without his fedora?' Prosecutor Andrea Hoffman 'has no objection' to a hatted José, Hirsch says."

Judge Cooke issued an Order on that motion yesterday. Here's the text of the order:

THIS MATTER is before the court on the Defendant’s Motion to Permit Witness to Wear Hat in Court, filed April 25, 2006.
The Court understands and recognizes the importance Mr. Eber places upon wearing his hat. It is well-known that part of Mr. Eber’s "image" is his trademark cowboy hat. As there are no cameras allowed in court, the possible negative effect of him appearing in the courtroom hatless cannot be gauged.
The wearing of hats is a tradition of a by-gone era, and as such, it is important that those choosing to reenact that era be aware of the proper rules of conduct that should be demonstrated by the wearer.
Generally, there are two degrees of politeness demonstrated by a gentleman wearing a hat: 1) lifting or tipping it, which you generally do for strangers, and 2) taking it off, which is generally done for friends, or as sign of patriotism or reverence.
Both are done as a sign of respect toward others are an expression of one’s own dignity. As rule, hats are removed during the playing of the National Anthem, while the American Flag is passing, at funeral or in the presence of passing funeral procession, and indoors–especially in a church, courtroom or restaurant. If in doubt, a true gentleman will remove his hat indoors as soon as in practical. Leaving one’s hat on when it is considered "proper" to remove it is generally considered aq sign of contempt and/or disrespect.
Would Charlie Chaplin, Sherlock Holmes or Humphrey Bogart as Richard Blaine choose to wear their headgear, when by so doing, they are making a statement that fashion, rather than commonly-accepted practices showing respect, dictate their behavior?
The Court feels this to be a matter of respect, and as such, respects Mr. Ever’s sentiments with regard to his hat. In light of the foregoing, the Court rules as follows:
Mr. Eber may choose to remove his hat as a sign of respect, in accordance with the commonly-accepted rules of etiquette, or he may choose to testify with his hat on. Perhaps the author his carefully researched motion, Milton Hirsch, a gentleman and Office of the Court himself, might assist in his decision.

CLASSIC! (UPDATE -- The Herald has now picked up the Order).

In other fun judicial decisions, apparently the judge handling the lawsuit over the DaVinci Code has inserted his own code into the text of the order. Here is some coverage. And here is the decision. UDPATED -- here is the solution. CNN has a story explaining the code and solution here and hints about the code here.

Great stuff, no?


Anonymous said...

I love Judge Cooke!

Anonymous said...

She is the best. Hats off to her. Milt, what is your client going to do?

Joe G said...

A most fine and excellent order, indeed. My hat is off to the judge...

Anonymous said...

Truly ridiculous - to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Excellent order. I'm a teacher, and I do not allow hats in classrooms. Judge Cooke, fine order!

Anonymous said...

If women can wear hats in the workplace, and men can't, isn't that discrimination? If some employers allow some employees to wear kufis indoors because of religion, and don't allow everyone the opportunity to wear them, isn't that discrimination?
I think everyone should be allowed to wear hats or kufis. Or nobody should be able to wear hats or kufis. That is the only way to stop this discrimination in the workplace, training environment, or any inside facility.
Please give your opinion and ask others what they think about it. If you have the guts, ask your Human Resource Department what is their policy on this issue?

Rumpole said...

I think its time Rumpole handled some more cases in Federal Court. At least we know we will be appreciated by Judge Cooke. What a great order!!