In southern Illinois, common summer clothes will soon get you kicked out of court. Jefferson County's courthouse starts enforcing a written dress code Monday. We looked into how inappropriate clothing is handled in Winnebago County.
"What the 17th Circuit Court follows is based on an Illinois Supreme Court rule which mandates that judges as well as court staff maintain proper decorum and dignity in the courthouse." -says Winnebago County Courthouse Deputy Court Administrator Tom Jakeway.
But, the definitions of decorum and dignity are up to circuit judges. Jefferson County's courthouse adopted a written formal document banning items like tank tops and hats. Winnebago County uses a different system.
"We basically follow what we call a common sense standard of decorum where individual people make a determination as to what is appropriate or not, not necessarily tied to a formal document itself." -Jakeway explains.
Court administrators say they know what to look out for.
"Certainly examples like any sort of t-shirt with obscene language or graphics would be prohibited, the wearing of hats, except for religious purposes, is prohibited as well as not having proper foot attire." -says Jakeway.
Jefferson County Sheriff's deputies remind citizens to remove hats or cover up almost everyday. Winnebago County court administrators say the same thing happens here.
"Today there was an example of someone who was wearing a t-shirt which was determined to be inappropriate. We don't have statistics kept on these types of matters; it's a frequent occurrence, but hasn't necessitated the adoption of a formal policy." -Jakeway adds.
Winnebago County's circuit judges are reviewing Jefferson County's new policy, but they haven't taken action to adopt a similar written rule.
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