Local News

Dunn city attorney: Saggy pants ban is unconstitutional

Posted September 11, 2012 6:03 a.m. EDT
Updated September 11, 2012 11:26 p.m. EDT

— Issuing fines to people wearing saggy pants is unconstitutional, Dunn City Attorney P. Tilghman Pope said Tuesday evening as the City Council geared up to vote on a proposed ban of the fashion statement.

In July, Mayor Pro Tem Carnell Robinson proposed an ordinance banning saggy pants in an effort to clean up the city's image. Now he plans to lobby the North Carolina General Assembly and local lawmakers to see what can be done about men who wear their pants so low that their underwear is visible.

He also hopes to enact a ban on saggy pants in public schools. A similar ordinance was recently adopted on a statewide level in Tennessee.

Under Robinson's initial proposal, the first two violations would result in a warning. The third time, violators could face a fine of up to $200.

After a month of research, Pope sided with dozens of the ban's opponents, who showed up to a Aug. 15 council meeting, prompting hours of lively debate.

He said a ban on saggy pants would be hard to enforce and, in his opinion, is unconstitutional. The North Carolina American Civil Liberties Union has made similar arguments against the proposed ordinance. 

The proposal was drafted based on a similar ordinance in Tuscumbia, Ala., one of several small towns in the country that has successfully banned saggy pants.