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"Put your hands in your pants and face the judge."

Secrets behind perp-walk pocket pool.

Image by Rick Geary

Dear Matthew:

I've noticed something weird on our local TV news stories on courtroom appearances by alleged criminals. When the arrestee is standing up in front of the judge at arraignment, they often have their hands tucked into the waistband of their pants. Is this because they are embarrassed to be seen in handcuffs? How can it be less embarrassing to be seen with your hands stuffed down your pants? Is this something they are told to do or just some thug fashion thing?

— Jenny, UCSD

Yeah, Jenny, it's a bitch when your 15 minutes of fame means everybody sees you on TV with your head fuzzed out in those little squares , like you're standing in a cloud of mosquitos, and worse yet, you're groping your own crotch. Must make you wonder if the crime was worth the humiliation. On the other hand, we groped around real thoroughly to answer your question, and I think we can clear up the mystery.

Regular visitors to Aliceland know that Ma Alice's family tree is full of felonious twigs so we can always get the insider's take on this kind of puzzlement. We checked around to see which uncle was out on the street and presented your inquiry. Than we double-checked with the sheriff's department. Here's the skinny.

So say you're locked up at, oh, Chula Vista, and you have a date with the judge in San Diego at 9a.m. They'll roust you from your rack about 4 and move you, unshackled, to the holding area where they're gonna put you on the bus with the window bars. They eventually line you up and start laying out the cuffs-on-waist-chains. You and the random perp next to you are linked together (a slow and cumbersome process) and the two of you share a seat on the ride downtown. Once the bus has pulled in through those big honkin' gates on the Front Street side of the Hall of Justice, they escort you to the court holding area, where everybody's slowly and cumbersomely unhooked. Unless you are some kind of notorious thug, you will remain unhooked through the rest of the ordeal, until they put you back on the bus to return to Chula.

If you're typical, you're a pretty low-risk type, and security in the courthouse and courtroom is tight. When your case is called, you're escorted by deputies down a short hall to the courtroom; you're in front of the judge for two, maybe three minutes; then you're escorted back to the holding area. On arraignment days, deputies might do this 30, 40 times. Since there's little security risk to the officers, judge, or public when the perp is out and about, deputies tell them to stick their hands into their pants and keep them there until they're back in the holding room. That saves deputies from all the hooking and unhooking to move each inmate and makes that inmate's day-long stint in the courthouse a little more comfortable. The hands-in-the-pants maneuver allows a deputy to keep an eye on where your hands are, or are supposed to be, should you decide you've had enough of the justice system and just want out.

One side note. There are occasions when an inmate with a little too much attitude or a heavier than usual rap will be cuffed for the trip to see the judge. In that case, deputies have been known to advise inmates to keep their hands deep in their pants in order to hide the cuffs and not prejudice their case.

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Image by Rick Geary

Dear Matthew:

I've noticed something weird on our local TV news stories on courtroom appearances by alleged criminals. When the arrestee is standing up in front of the judge at arraignment, they often have their hands tucked into the waistband of their pants. Is this because they are embarrassed to be seen in handcuffs? How can it be less embarrassing to be seen with your hands stuffed down your pants? Is this something they are told to do or just some thug fashion thing?

— Jenny, UCSD

Yeah, Jenny, it's a bitch when your 15 minutes of fame means everybody sees you on TV with your head fuzzed out in those little squares , like you're standing in a cloud of mosquitos, and worse yet, you're groping your own crotch. Must make you wonder if the crime was worth the humiliation. On the other hand, we groped around real thoroughly to answer your question, and I think we can clear up the mystery.

Regular visitors to Aliceland know that Ma Alice's family tree is full of felonious twigs so we can always get the insider's take on this kind of puzzlement. We checked around to see which uncle was out on the street and presented your inquiry. Than we double-checked with the sheriff's department. Here's the skinny.

So say you're locked up at, oh, Chula Vista, and you have a date with the judge in San Diego at 9a.m. They'll roust you from your rack about 4 and move you, unshackled, to the holding area where they're gonna put you on the bus with the window bars. They eventually line you up and start laying out the cuffs-on-waist-chains. You and the random perp next to you are linked together (a slow and cumbersome process) and the two of you share a seat on the ride downtown. Once the bus has pulled in through those big honkin' gates on the Front Street side of the Hall of Justice, they escort you to the court holding area, where everybody's slowly and cumbersomely unhooked. Unless you are some kind of notorious thug, you will remain unhooked through the rest of the ordeal, until they put you back on the bus to return to Chula.

If you're typical, you're a pretty low-risk type, and security in the courthouse and courtroom is tight. When your case is called, you're escorted by deputies down a short hall to the courtroom; you're in front of the judge for two, maybe three minutes; then you're escorted back to the holding area. On arraignment days, deputies might do this 30, 40 times. Since there's little security risk to the officers, judge, or public when the perp is out and about, deputies tell them to stick their hands into their pants and keep them there until they're back in the holding room. That saves deputies from all the hooking and unhooking to move each inmate and makes that inmate's day-long stint in the courthouse a little more comfortable. The hands-in-the-pants maneuver allows a deputy to keep an eye on where your hands are, or are supposed to be, should you decide you've had enough of the justice system and just want out.

One side note. There are occasions when an inmate with a little too much attitude or a heavier than usual rap will be cuffed for the trip to see the judge. In that case, deputies have been known to advise inmates to keep their hands deep in their pants in order to hide the cuffs and not prejudice their case.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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