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    Can a judge order you to cut your hair or go to jail?

    Date: 10.02.09 | by Natalie Jacobs.

    According to an appellate court in Louisiana, the answer is no.

    Juvenile Court Judge David Bell ordered a juvenile on probation for possession of stolen property to either cut his dreadlocks or go to jail for one year.  With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the juvenile appealed the judges verbal order claiming that it violated his constitutional rights and had no relation to either his offense or probation.  The appellate court ultimately agreed with the juvenile and reversed the judge’s order which allowed the juvenile to keep his dreadlocks.

    Photo by _DreadBoy (Flickr)

    Photo by _DreadBoy (Flickr)

    The judge made statements during an interview that taking away something a child values can be a fair alternative to jail.

    The juvenile had complied with all other terms of his probation including school attendance, house arrest and negative drug tests. He had been growing his dreadlocks in anticipation of visiting his late father’s relatives in Jamaica who all wear dreadlocks.

    Natalie Jacobs

    This post was written by Natalie Jacobs. Prior to joining the AsktheJudge.info team, Natalie worked as a criminal attorney for over five years. She also has worked with Innocence Projects as well as Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona, a character development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. When she's not reading and writing about youth justice issues, she thinks about becoming a farmer, chef, world traveler, Bikram master, dogwalker and 80’s film reviewer.

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