judge Wolf
Photo: YouTube

Pants: A Jefferson County District Court judge was outraged when a defendant appeared before her, seemingly without pants, reports TIME, The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Elle and The Washington Post.

Last Friday, Shavonne Salazar appeared in court before Jefferson District Court Judge Amber Wolf for failing to complete a diversion program for a 2014 shoplifting charge. The judge thought the recommended sentence for a first-time offender to be ridiculous and as she requested more details, the attorney informed the judge that Ms. Salazar also had been denied pants and feminine hygiene products.

That didn’t sit well with Judge Wolf, who apologized to Ms. Salazar, called for “anything” to cover her and made a call to the jail to figure out what went wrong.

Here’s the courtroom video:

That video went viral quickly — a little too quickly according to Steve Durham of Louisville Metro Department of Corrections, the jail’s assistant director and spokesman, says USA Today and Corrections.com (citing WLKY).

Mr. Durham says the Department of Corrections did nothing wrong. First and foremost, the defendant was wearing pants, kind of; she had some brightly colored shorts on. He says the judge or attorney could have easily confirmed that one just by asking. He says plenty of feminine hygiene products were available, not just to Ms. Salazar, but to all inmates. Finally, standard operating procedure is to keep people in the clothes in which they were arrested for 72 hours before assigning a corrections jumpsuit.

Said Mr. Durham:

“The judge drew a conclusion she didn’t have pants on and didn’t do anything to confirm that,” said Durham. “If we had taken somebody over with no pants on we should be held responsible. We didn’t.”

“During warm summer months, we get people all the time who are wearing shorts and T-shirts and miniskirts and tank tops.”

Director Mark Bolton also believes the story leapt to the public without all the facts:

“Has this caused pain for me and my staff and this agency? Yes it has. There has to be a responsibility of everybody in public safety, criminal justice community, the media, you have to be careful in this day and age, because it has spun off the rail, it has hurt people.”

And like a lot of things, I wonder if it’s fair to say more than one thing can be true. So we can say the Department of Corrections didn’t do anything wrong or out of the ordinary. But it can also be true that we can go a little further to treat people fairly and that’s what caused Judge Wolf’s reaction. That kind of sensibility I’d think you want in a judge. The first thing that caught her attention before pants/no pants was the severity of the sentence request for a first-time offender.

But maybe we could alter procedure within reason, either case-by-case or altogether. So, for example, if the ensemble one is wearing is as such that you could be seen as being sans pants, we could amend standard procedure to ask if the defendant would like an alternative before appearing in court. Or before other inmates, for that matter.

I just know if someone came to get me now, it wouldn’t be pretty. It’s hot here at “In Other News…” headquarters North Central, and I’ve made some questionable fashion choices to meet and beat the heat head on. If someone came knocking, I’d ask for a moment to change for the good of us all.

“Sir, you’re not coming back home right away. If you like, I’ll send an officer upstairs with you to help you get covered from the waist up. And down.”

Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell

No Cure: We talked a few weeks ago about legislation to help prevent the spread of the Zika virus was held up due to all the additions attached. This week, The Huffington Post says Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and senior senator from Kentucky, admits the bill is not “clean.”

But mostly because no bill is clean so it’s still the other party’s fault it’s not passing, even though it’s full of riders you know the other party cannot live with.

“No bills are completely clean. They’re always a combination of interests because neither side is irrelevant. This is divided government. Both Democrats and Republicans have sway, have power to influence things.”

Well, OK. But it would be nice when say, public health and safety are on the line, and I don’t know, people are telling pregnant women to avoid an entire city in America — it would be good if we could take other things out of the conversation. For a minute.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post reports Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell addressed lawmakers this week, saying key programs will be out of money if Congress does not act.

“Now that the United States is in the height of mosquito season and with the progress in developing a Zika vaccine, the need for additional resources is critical. Without additional funding as requested in the President’s request for an emergency supplemental, our nation’s ability to effectively respond to Zika will be impaired.”

Ask Alice: Last week, we talked about Looking for Lilith’s production of “Alice in Black and White” playing at 59E59 Theaters in New York City. To keep you up with how things are going, this week The New York Times has a preview.

We ran a similar story last week, but the Times keeps covering it, so I will too. Hopefully we’ll have a review to run next week; the show opens on Aug. 7.

Written by Robin Rice and directed by Kathi E.B. Ellis, “Alice” tells the story of photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952), exploring her passion for photography, and her partner, Gertrude Tate. The New York production premieres on what would have been Austen’s 150th birthday.

Edgerton_Lawrence

Spy vs. Spy: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter and Empire report your girl, Jennifer Lawrence, may be getting a new co-star for her upcoming film, “Red Sparrow.” Joel Edgerton is in talks to join the Russian espionage thriller. And if you’re thinking, “This would be exciting news, if only I knew who in the world Joel Edgerton is,” that’s totally fair.

You might have seen him in “Warrior” with Tom Hardy, “Black Mass” with Johnny Depp, or “The Great Gatsby” with Leonardo DiCaprio. He also has the upcoming “Loving” (2017) with Ruth Negga (who also plays Tulip on AMC’s adaptation of Garth Ennis’s “Preacher”) and played galactic stick-in-the-desert Uncle Owen in two of the three “Star Wars” prequels.

Lots of people hiding out in those films: Keira Knightly as Natalie Portman’s princess double, Dominic West from “The Wire,” and Rose Byrne from “Bridesmaids.” So we can’t hold that against him.

Here’s how Deadline describes the project:

Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the agency’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers collide in a charged atmosphere of trade craft, deception, and inevitably, a sexual attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow.

A lot of folks sent me this item from Women.com: “Quiz: This Food Quiz Will Determine If You’re Really From Louisville.” I took it; scored 100 percent, of course. Even though I’m not a native, I’m what you call “immersed.”

I also took another quiz, “What Characters in Literature Are You Made Up Of?” I got Edmond Dantès from “The Count of Monte Cristo” and Sherlock Holmes. So observant, insightful and full of calculated vengeance if wronged.

I’ll give you the opposite sentiment here, though. It was my birthday this week. Thanks to all for the love and well-wishings, especially my love, Megan, who was about as sweet as a person could be all day long.

Nicolas Cage was in town filming this week for the movie, “Mom and Dad,” also starring Selma Blair. Mr. Cage also did some shopping and sightseeing, and the twitter sightings of Mr. Cage turned into its own makeshift version of Pokemon Go. “Nic Cage is at the zoo!” became the celebrity equivalent of “There’s a Squirtle nearby!”

Here is a collection of Nicolas Cage sightings for your weekend.

 

See you next week.

Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.