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