Thomas Roy appeared at a courthouse in Greenville, South Carolina, last Wednesday for a pre-trial conference.
Roy never made it to the conference because a judge threatened to arrest him for wearing a shirt that read, "Police Lie."
Roy filmed the exchange on his cell phone (video below).
The judge stated, "Mr. Roy, you leave here now with that shirt on, I’m the city judge, and do not come back into this building or on this property with that shirt on again, do you understand ... or you are going to be in contempt of this court."
Roy asked if he was breaking a law, and the judge told him:
Sir, you’re violating the common law of this state, because that shirt and what it says puts at issue … witnesses against one another. It’s baiting, and I’m not going to have it, and I’m in charge of this courthouse, and I'm telling you go now, or you’re going to jail. I'm telling you to leave this, leave this property and don't come back on this property again with that shirt on or you're going to jail for contempt.
The judge didn't cite a specific section in the common law of South Carolina, but claimed the entire building "was court."
A police officer then escorted Roy to another area of the building to reschedule his pre-trial conference.
Roy told The Free Thought Project that he had been beaten by the police several times in the past.
It's not unusual for judges to crack down on courtroom attire.
USA TODAY reported in 2010 that a woman was jailed briefly in Lake County, Illinois, for wearing what was considered an offensive T-shirt; a Michigan man was turned away from a court for wearing black jeans; and a woman was not allowed into a court in Bakersfield, California, because she wore flip-flops.