Judges to SeMo Lawyers: Dress Up or Stay Out of Court

AUGUST 21, 2006 - Posted at 10:46 a.m. CDT

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO - Judges in Missouri's 32nd Judicial Circuit are sending a message to attorneys: No socks, no shoes, no litigation.

Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis recently informed lawyers in the region that covers Cape Girardeau, Bollinger and Perry counties that a new rule on courtroom decorum and dress will be strictly enforced.

The rule requires a coat and tie for men.  In a letter to lawyers, Lewis writes that socks and shoes are required, too, even though that's not stated in the new rule.

At least one lawyer admits he has been lax in wearing socks, and sometimes wears jeans.

Lewis doubts any lawyer or defendant would be held in contempt for violating the dress code.  Violators would likely be sent home to change.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)