(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — A Florida drug suspect who arrived at his court hearing wearing a jacket depicting a recipe for crack cocaine was “exercising his freedom of speech,” his lawyer said Monday.
Christopher Patterson, 25, of Dania, Fla., showed up in court Friday wearing a jacket with pictures of a box of baking soda, a pot over a fire, and a spoon with a white substance, showing the end product a “rock,” slang for the drug.
The jacket also contained the phrase “stack paper say nothing,” slang meaning to make money and not talk about where it came from.
Florida Defense Attorney Michael D. Weinstein was also in the courtroom Friday and took a picture of Patterson’s jacket with a cellphone as the suspect approached the judge.
“I was absolutely shocked,” Weinstein said. “I see someone charged with trafficking walking up to a judge who’s going to determine your fate wearing a jacket like that. I was just blown away.”
Patterson’s lawyer, Joshua Rydell, told ABC News Monday that Patterson did not appear before the judge wearing the jacket, but defended his behavior.
“He was expressing his freedom of speech, just like any of us are entitled to do. It was his freedom of expression,” Rydell said.
The lawyer said he did not want to discuss his client, but added, “People that come from his background don’t typically understand what’s appropriate to wear before a judge.”
The Broward County State Attorney’s office said Patterson is no longer in state custody.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
John Clyde, KSL.com
Doug Criss, CNN
Julia Horowitz, CNN
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN