Sheriff: Courthouse not ‘Animal House’

Dress code goes into effect Monday in Jefferson County
2013-08-15T07:00:00Z 2013-09-12T11:59:04Z Sheriff: Courthouse not ‘Animal House’BY BECKY MALKOVICH, The Southern The Southern
August 15, 2013 7:00 am  • 

MOUNT VERNON — A new dress code will go into effect at Jefferson County Courthouse next week.

All people entering the courthouse will be required to wear “proper dress” or be turned away, Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch said.

“This has been a long time coming,” Mulch said. “Deputies address this on a daily basis, telling people to take their hats off or cover up a bit, but you can only do that so many times. Now we’re going to institute rules for the courthouse and courtrooms.”

Inappropriate dress, according to the new rules, includes pajama tops or bottoms; cut-offs or shorts of any type; house slippers or comparable footwear; tank tops; muscle shirts; halter tops or half-shirts; mesh or see-through shirts; hats or do-rags; and clothing with inappropriate or offensive logos, pictures or writing.

All clothing shall be worn correctly and as designed. In addition, if a county officeholder, judge or deputy deems clothing inappropriate, the wearer will be asked to leave the courthouse.

The rules were created after careful consideration, Mulch said.

“You have to be careful when you talk about dress because of freedom of speech, but some things are clearly offensive,” he said, including T-shirts with curse words or anti-Semitic phrases printed on them.

“We’re talking offensive, something that is not appropriate to the setting,” Mulch said. “If you’re going to wear it to a frat party that’s one thing, but when you’re here, you should dress for success.”

The dress code will not affect the majority of people who enter the courthouse, he said.

“It’s not a great group of people, but the numbers have grown,” he said.

The new code goes into effect Monday and signs will be posted at entrances to the courthouse and courtrooms.

For the next year, those turned away will be allowed a 30-minute grace period to get to their court dates if they return to the courthouse wearing proper attire.

“That will give people plenty of time to get used to the new rules,” he said.


On Twitter: @beckymalkovich

Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. marvinP
    Report Abuse
    marvinP - August 18, 2013 12:43 pm
    I am not sure they can do this, It is one thing for a Judge to tell you what you can wear in his court room. But it is entirely something else for them to tell me what I can wear when I come up there to pay my tax's or conduct other business in the court house. I don't live there any more but we still own property in Jefferson Co. and when I come up I pay their salaries with that tax money. And I don't feel they should be able to tell me what is appropriate and what isn't. It is still America. isn't it ??
    And whom is going to be the person that tells you what is the right thing to wear and what is the wrong thing to wear?
  2. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - August 15, 2013 6:32 pm
    So what about the employee that went to the court house on his lunch time to take care of business? Some people get pretty dirty after being on a roof or under a car after 4 hours. Some people can't afford to take off a full day of work
  3. nanna 1967
    Report Abuse
    nanna 1967 - August 15, 2013 2:58 pm
    Some of the rules may be to much but I totally agree with them. You are going to get your punishment or whatever you go to the courthouse for not to a whore house or a party. Just dress decent and not with your butt hanging out either. People do not dress appropriate when they go out sometimes. All they are saying is just look presentable when you go in the courthouse and not like a freak or a trashy street corner or just crawled out of bed.
  4. chicken1
    Report Abuse
    chicken1 - August 15, 2013 2:45 pm
    Its not that difficult people! I personally have never been in a courthouse that didnt have this rule. Its about showing a little respect for the system and people that allow you to whine about the system and people. Sneakers, clean untorn jeans and a clean shirt are perfectly acceptable in the court. Nobody said this os a formal event. Just asking you to look like the professional you want to be treated as.
  5. StraightTalk
    Report Abuse
    StraightTalk - August 15, 2013 2:45 pm
    Sad that decent Americans have to legislate and write law to get people to do what is respectable and right. At one time we didn't have to be forced to conduct ourselves properly in public, out parents and families set the example and we proudly followed. Nowadays the parent and family union have give way to TV, Movies and general slovenly lazy examples. So, let's all get out wife beaters on and head out to town, what say? God bless what is left of the pride given to us by our ancestors.
  6. Thinkin'
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    Thinkin' - August 15, 2013 1:09 pm
    Abuse of power by the powerful is becoming ever more intrusive into the American way of life. Maybe a Judge can have rule over appearance in his courtroom, but even offensive dress is nothing to get alarmed about if no harm is done excepting another individuals perceptions. Even thorns are offensive but have great value for protection. Where harm is not the outcome let well enough alone. For me the immoral and unethical behaviors of these and other elected officials is much more offensive and intolerable than how an individual dresses.
  7. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - August 15, 2013 12:37 pm
    Kh32354 you can go to court only wearing your birthday suit if you want, heck I don't care.
    You would probably only embarrass yourself when everyone saw you had nothing to hide behind a Bush lol.
  8. reaper
    Report Abuse
    reaper - August 15, 2013 11:41 am
    First of all, I am absolutely pro law enforcement and pro proper decorum. However, this set of rules has definitely crossed the line. This is Liberal ideology at its worst. "In addition, if a county officeholder, judge or deputy deems clothing inappropriate, the wearer will be asked to leave the courthouse" should scare us all to death. Most of this set of rules is completely subjective. What an opportunity for people to abuse authority. They are opening themselves up to problems and law suits. Lots of business goes on in a courthouse that doesn't require such formal attire. Not everybody entering the courthouse is going to attend a hearing. And, for those who are actually going to be in a courtroom, let the judge decide what clothing is proper for his court and what isn't.
  9. kh32354
    Report Abuse
    kh32354 - August 15, 2013 11:02 am
    It is a public place essentially owned by the people of Jefferson County. Some people may not have the money to dress properly? Or perhaps the only pair of shoes they own are not what some would call appropriate. Shorts of any type? REALLY!! I can wear shorts to work and it's totally acceptable! OH and Old Joe.. I think I'll wear my BUSH is an A**Hat shirt or perhaps a pro gay marriage look for me!
  10. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - August 15, 2013 8:58 am
    So they are saying I can't wear the now famous, Obama ass clown mask to court? What ever happened to freedom of expression?
  11. Leslie
    Report Abuse
    Leslie - August 15, 2013 8:21 am
    It about time someone is trying to put some decenty back in our public places I hope there are more places that will do the same thing it would be nice to look at decenty people agin. Les from Benton IL. live in Fl
  12. Leslie
    Report Abuse
    Leslie - August 15, 2013 8:10 am
    It is about time someone is going to put some decenty back in our public places . There should be more places do the same thing. Les . from Benton IL. but in live in Fl. now

  13. Bert
    Report Abuse
    Bert - August 15, 2013 8:03 am
    Unless they have 1st Amendment lawyers working at the guard station, it's going to be hard to enforce this without getting into a lawsuit they will probably lose. "Offensive" t-shirts, for example, that carry a political message are going to be real problematic. Watch what happens when somebody shows up during a county election year with a t-shirt that says "Roger Mulch sucks a**" and gets turned away and told they can't enter a public courthouse to conduct their business unless they change their shirt. Or when somebody shows up wearing a shirt that says simply "Buck Ofama." I just don't see this one ending well.
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