MT. VERNON — An addendum to a dress code implemented at the Jefferson County Courthouse has been initiated.
Effective Tuesday, shorts will be allowed inside the courthouse as long as they are deemed "appropriate" by deputies and court officials, according to Sheriff Roger Mulch. Mulch and Resident Judge Jo Beth Weber implemented the new dress code, which became effective on Monday.
"The term 'shorts' on our postings will be amended to inappropriate shorts," Mulch said Tuesday during a news conference at the courthouse. "As a general rule of thumb, shorts should not be above the outstretched fingertips of a person who has their arms extended," he explained.
Of the 600 or so people coming through the courthouse on Monday, none were turned away for inappropriate dress, according to Deputy Gary Williams, of the court security system. He said two people were turned away on Tuesday morning for wearing shorts. Williams added the number of people coming to the courthouse this time of year has increased due to taxpayers paying first installment real estate taxes.
The new dress code, with the addendum, became effective following Mulch's news conference.
Mulch said the dress code does not effect employees of the courthouse since they are mandated to follow rules "governing appearance and/or dress codes established by each officeholder." He added that vendors who visit the courthouse regularly — such as U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS employees are exempt from the dress code since shorts are part of their uniform.
Shorts will be allowed in court rooms — if they are deemed appropriate by judges and courthouse security.
"That's up to the individual judges," Mulch said. "If a judge feels the shorts are appropriate, then it's okay. But it it's not, it should be stopped before they enter the court room."