Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fla. Attorney Clashes With Prison Guards Over Bra Ban

When it came to wearing her bra into a Miami detention center, one dedicated lawyer was banned if she did and banned if she didn't.

Attorney Brittney Horstman was attempting to meet with a client at the Miami Federal Detention Center on June 4 when her underwire bra triggered the dreaded beeping of a metal detector. Though she reminded security guards of a memo from the Florida Public Defender's Office that allowed female attorneys to enter with underwire, Horstman was still turned away.

Instead of leaving defeated, the former public defender decided to take matters into her own hands, shedding her bra in the restroom and returning to the security checkpoint in her blouse and suit. This time she was barred for her bralessness, which guards said violated the dress code's mandate that visitors not dress in a way that is "provocative [or] enticing."

"Simply because I was a woman who wore a specific bra, my client was denied access to his attorney today,'' Horstman wrote in an e-mail to fellow lawyers after the incident, according to The Miami Herald. "This is completely unacceptable.''

Horstman won praise from a colleague, Carmen Vizcaino, who wrote back: "You are a true defense attorney taking your bra off to try to see your client in jail!''

"Betcha none of the guys have done that for their clients," she added.

Horstman's bra battle also caught the attention of the legal blog Above the Law, which today named her its "Lawyer of the Day."

But Horstman won't likely have to shop for elusive nonunderwire undergarments anytime soon, as the issue was apparently resolved between the warden and the Federal Public Defender's Office.

"The incident, while regrettable and unfortunate, appears to be an aberration,'' Michael Caruso, the public defender's chief assistant, told the Herald, adding that the warden "conducted her own inquiry ... [and] resolved the situation to our satisfaction, and she said it won't happen again."

Despite the steamy Florida weather, Horstman would be advised to refrain from shorts, sundresses or wraparound skirts this summer -- they are all strictly prohibited by the detention center's dress code.

By Michelle Ruiz

Source: AOLnews.com

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