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Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 12:28 UK

US judge rejects saggy jeans law

Rapper Lil Wayne
Low-slung trousers are fashionable among some young people

A law that landed a Florida teenager in jail for having sagging jeans that exposed his underwear is unconstitutional, a judge has decided.

The 17-year-old spent a night in jail after police arrested him for exposing 4in (10cm) of boxer shorts in Riviera Beach, south-east Florida.

Town voters backed the law in March after supporters raised a petition.

However, a circuit judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional based on "the limited facts" of the case.

Carol Bickerstaff, defending teenager Julius Hart, had urged Judge Paul Moyle to throw out the law, saying: "Your honour, we now have the fashion police."

Before making his ruling, Judge Moyle said: "We're not talking about exposure of buttocks. No. We're talking about someone who has on pants whose underwear are apparently visible to a police officer who then makes an arrest, and the basis is he's then held overnight."

Gaining popularity

Moves to ban baggy or saggy jeans are gaining popularity in several parts of the US.

Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia are among the larger US cities considering similar measures.

However, civil liberties groups say such laws will unfairly target young African-Americans.

The fashion is believed to have originated in prisons, where inmates are given baggy uniform trousers and have their belts removed to prevent hangings and beatings.

The trend made it to gangster rap videos in the 1980s and then spread to skateboarders and high-school hallways.


SEE ALSO
The strong waistband of the law
18 Jun 07 |  Americas
US town set to ban saggy trousers
14 Jun 07 |  Americas


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