Jennifer LaPenta Contempt Charge: Judge Holds Woman In Contempt Because She Was Offended By Her T-Shirt
Jennifer LaPenta did not even have to be in court the day she was held in contempt and jailed. The 20-year-old woman had left the gym and accompanied a friend to court when the judge spotted her t-shirt and flipped.
The shirt, which read "I have the p***y, so I make the rules," was apparently too offensive for Lake County Judge Helen Rozenberg, who "singled her out from the gallery and charged her with contempt of court" in early May, the Lake County News Sun reported.
LaPenta, who said she did not have time to change out of what she wore to the gym when she joined her friend in court, had to serve a 48-hour jail sentence for wearing the "offensive" t-shirt.
On Monday, Attorney Peter Kalagis asked Judge Rozenberg to clear LaPenta's record of the t-shirt charge, but the judge refused. Kalagis told the Chicago Tribune he plans to appeal.
Initially, Kalagis said the American Civil Liberties Union wanted to get involved and file a lawsuit against the judge for violating LaPenta's rights, but the woman said she did not plan to file a suit.
"I'm just looking to get it off my record," she told the News Sun.
"We as a people are free to express ourselves in words and writing as long it doesn't cause harm," Kalagis told the paper. "What's interesting, too, is that she passed deputies, clerks and court personnel. Nobody told her it was inappropriate, and they're on the lookout for stuff like that."
LaPenta's aunt, Rose Cirelli, agreed.
"The judge was on a power trip. Her rights were violated," she told the paper.
LaPenta had an unblemished record before the t-shirt debacle.