Judge to Jurors: Wear a Tie, Man!

In this judge’s courtroom, he urges jurors to dress appropriately - specifically, for men, that includes a “snugly knotted necktie.”

Apparently he does not sanction jurors who do not comply, but evidently most do comply. One critic of the judge’s policy says, “’'I remember when we were a free country,” and ''There might be people on the jury who don’t know how to do a Windsor knot or a four-in-hand."

Two IMHO opinion questions:

  1. Is the judge on the right track, or insisting on outmoded concepts?
  2. Are there really adult men in this country in any significant number that cannot tie a tie?
  1. I don’t know whether it’s an outmoded concept or not, but it strikes me as being a reasonable request to ask someone to wear a tie in such a setting.

  2. Oh, absolutely. You’d be amazed, I think.

  1. Both. He’s right in that putting on a tie/dressing up can have a positive effect on decorum and make some guys take their duty a little more seriously, but there are some on whom that tactic will backfire. Also, I think we can agree that wearing a tie, while still a business and formalwear standard, has outlived it’s predecessors’ (crevats, etc.) original purpose (to keep soup off your nicely boiled shirt).

  2. Heck, yeah; I’d guess that there’s a not-insignificant number of men (espicially those under 30) who so rarely have the occaision to wear a tie (job or church or weddings/funerals), that they get their dads to tie them for them, then leave them knotted for the (rare) times they wear them.

I don’t know how to tie one, I do not own one (unless western-style bolo tie counts), and I do not wear one.

I would tell the judge to excuse me from the case if he feels my tielessness makes me inappropriate for the responsibility for which I was called.

He’s not being a jerk about it. He makes the request once and then lets it go at that. Jury Duty is a serious matter and should require someone to take it seriously. Maybe the rarity of wearing a tie may cause them to take it seriously.

Do people really not own a tie or know how to knot one anymore? I’m 31 and while I don’t wear one everyday unless I am meeting a client or going to Court, I keep one handy just in case.

I can also tie one in a minute or two.

The only time I served on a jury, I wore a suit and tie (without prompting) and was the only man on that jury to do so. I was elected foreman, even though I wasn’t the oldest juror or otherwise outwardly qualified, nor did I actively seek the role.

I mention this because I think it highlights the fact that modes of dress signify one’s attitudes and, conversely, failing to wear appropriate clothing can be taken as a sign of disrespect.

One might assume that the judge in this case was being pissy about what he perceived as disrespect toward himself, but what’s more important is the respect shown to the individual parties and the whole process. If you were the defendant, would you rather put your fate in the hands of twelve people wearing jackets and ties, or a jury wearing t-shirts and jeans?

I would prefer that the average juror know without being told, as I did, what is appropriate dress for appearing in court. But since, according to the article, the judge doesn’t “pester” them about it, I think what he has done is fine, even if the need for it is regrettable.

What pisses me off is little babies like this:

No, you jerk, you’re not doing anyone a favor, you’re doing your civic duty. You’re paying one of the very small prices of living in a civilized society. So quit your whining, you baby, tighten up that tie, and shut up.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

With all due respect, your honor, bugger off. I didn’t ask to be here; it’s my civic duty to help you decide this case, but I don’t have to dress like you. I wear a tie when somebody I know gets hatched, matched, or dispatched. If I don’t look good enough to tell some guy he’s guilty, then send me home, sir. With all due respect.

On the other hand, I might wear a tie as a sweatband.


The judge really wouldn’t like my attire then. I haven’t worn a tie in years. The last wedding I went to I wore a Hawaiian shirt. Ditto the last funeral. In the interests of decorum I might pick out a sedate one. Maybe.

slight nitpick: What you refer to is a bola tie, which happens to be the official tie of Arizona, believe it or not.

I think that wearing a tie in such a situation does say something about a person. For example, if I were selected to serve on such a jury, if the defendant didn’t wear a tie I’d probably convict him just based on that.

Is the judge on the right track, or insisting on outmoded concepts?


I was recently called for jury duty. I wore slacks and a dress shirt without a tie because that is how I dress for work. Of the 50 some prospective juors in the courtroom there may have been one or two men who wore ties, probably because that was part of their normal work clothes. How can you ask a gardener, or a truck driver, or a construction worker to wear a tie.

Hell, maybe some men don’t even own a tie, let alone know how to tie one.

This kind of thinking by the judge makes me want to go over to the Pit and post a mini rant.

A tale that gets told in my family:

My dad was in legal trouble once. To make things right, what he needed to do was bring eight hundred dollars to the courtroom when he came up for a hearing. He did so. The judge, however, refused to do anything until my dad came back dressed in a suit. My dad bought a suit. Now he didn’t have all the $800 anymore.

Well anyway that’s the way I remember it being told.


I’d probably use the occasion to wear one of my ties, but I’m passive aggresive, so if the judge told me to, I might not.

Screw that noise. I’m perfectly able to eat without getting food down the front of my shirt, so I don’t need a bib.

Ties are just a stupid concept, anyway. If I get dressed up, I wear my suit with a french cut dress shirt, so there’s no way for me to wear a tie. I couldn’t tie a windsor or four-in-hand to save my life.

I agree that people should dress respectfully for jury duty. I just don’t think that a tie is necessarily respectful.

Tie = elitist & pedantic. As a juror I assume my job would be to, oh I don’t know, pay attention to the facts and make the best choice I can. I can’t do that with a noose around my own neck. Can I be arsed to dress up a notch? Sure. I look quite nice in a pullover and jacket & slacks. I could do that much in the way of respect for the court. Nothing wrong with looking sharp. Besides, if there’s hotties on the jury they’re more likely to pass notes with a guy who looks like he respects himself and has the means and brains to get the job done after drinks later in the evening…what?

I can tie a tie. I can also tie a noose.

I think I’d be more comfortable with the T-shirt and jeans crowd. I would worry that the jacket-and-tie-clad people might act as though they were somehow better than me.

Yeah. What about “jury of peers?”

That’s such a load of BS. I’m willing to bet that not ONE of the jurors who sat on OJ’s trial was even a retired NFL player, let alone a Heisman Trophy winner.

I’ve got one suit and maybe one sports jacket if it still fits. The suit gets worn for weddings and funerals (fortunately more of the former than the latter). Other than that, it’s business casual. If that’s adequate for what I do for a living, it should be adequate for the task of sitting on a jury. I wouldn’t dress in a tee-shirt and jeans, but I wouldn’t dress “up” for the occasion either. I might conceivably be convinced to throw a tie on, but not the jacket – I dislike being hot.

What percentage of the U.S. population now goes to work wearing a suit and tie as opposed to say, fifty years ago?