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This opinion’s gotta have some of your attention

I did not know The Pretenders had a song called “Brass in Pocket” until last week. Sure, I’d heard the song, where lead singer Chrissie Hynde vows to woo a gentleman using various body parts and inanimate objects. (I also remember the ’80s music video where Hynde plays a waitress.) 

But I learned the song title, naturally, from the latest opinion by Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. of the Court of Appeals. As my colleague Steve Lash reports in today’s paper, the case decided whether Harford County police unreasonably conducted a search-and-seizure of a car. Officers stopped the car in part because the driver, Garry Dennis Crosby Jr. was “slumped down” as he drove.

In his brief, Crosby said he was using a “Detroit Lean” while he was driving and pointed to a definition in Urban Dictionary: “driving with one hand on the wheel while slouched over to the right.”

Harrell, in a footnote, said an “independent endeavor to determine whether such a phenomenon exists” led to the Pretenders’ song, which he quoted:

Got motion, restrained emotion

I been driving, Detroit Leaning

No reason, just seems so pleasing

Gonna make you, make you, make you notice

“As the song predicts, Crosby’s ‘Detroit Leaning,’ if that is what he was doing, succeeded in getting him noticed,” Harrell concluded in his footnote.


  1. As the lawyer for Mr. Crosby, it was a pleasure to discover the Detroit Lean in the urban dictionary. It’s one of those things that you know it when you see it, you just never knew it had a name!!!

  2. Never heard of a “Detroit lean,” but I grew up on the West Coast, where it was called a “gangsta lean.” Found, for instance, in the lyrics of “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” and also in the urban dictionary.