Courting Disaster: What Went Wrong With Randy Quaid

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Appelbaum noted that peer groups can influence how people respond to court dates by saying, "Oh, you don't have to go." And, in some cases, he said, all you need for a peer group is one person, who can be your spouse or other intimate.

Another factor that can create a no-show mindset is how much they once got away with. "People who are talented, smart or athletically gifted are often allowed to avoid unpleasant realities," said Appelbaum, noting it might be something as simple as being excused from chores because you're in a school play.

"Once you feel entitled, it's very hard to think of yourself as unentitled, even if you're not in demand or fielding phone calls," said Jim Cohen, a professor of criminal law at Fordham Law School whose expertise is psychology and criminal law. "People who consider themselves entitled are not happy being told what to do."

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