Joy Quick got quite a surprise Thursday morning when she was turned away from the Bibb County Courthouse for a dress code violation.
Instead of driving all the way from downtown back to her Lake Tobesofkee home to change her top, she retrieved from her car a blanket to wrap around her bare shoulders.
“I couldn’t go in because it was sleeveless,” Quick said. “No one told me.”
It actually wasn’t Quick’s lack of sleeves. Some sleeveless blouses, dresses and tops are permitted.
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All sleeveless T-shirts and tank tops are taboo.
Security will tell you to halt if you are in a halter top, and those in muscle shirts might have to be strong-armed away.
Quick’s top was somewhere between a tank and a halter.
Its fabric gathers into a banded black neckline, exposing about two inches of Quick’s lavender bra straps in the back.
Exposing undergarments is not allowed.
Folks in bedroom shoes will have to slip into something more respectable, too.
Notices are posted at the Second Street entrance, but most people seem to breeze right by without a glance.
Quick passed by those signs the day before.
“I was frustrated because (Wednesday) was court and I didn’t know you had to bring a certified check,” Quick said. “I just came back today to make a payment.”
Bibb County commissioners fell short of formalizing a dress code ordinance in 2011 when first discussing baggy pants, or as former Chairman Sam Hart called them, “britches below the butt.”
County Attorney Virgil Adam warned of the dangers of legislating what is not appropriate.
“How are you going to describe a halter top?” Adams asked at the time.
Bibb sheriff’s Major Harry Colbert, who oversees courthouse security,
would like to see people dressed in casual business attire.
“It’s common sense that you don’t come to a courthouse not properly dressed,” Colbert said. “Do you want to go stand (improperly dressed) in front of a judge in a case you might get some time for?”
Shorts are prohibited in the courtroom.
In the rest of the building, no shorts or cut-offs that “expose the lower portion of a participant’s body” will be tolerated.
Low-cut tops and clothing with offensive language or alcohol or drug symbols also are not allowed, either.
Baggy clothing that could conceal a weapon is also prohibited.
The same rules apply to the Bibb County Juvenile Justice Center, Colbert said.
“We would appreciate it if everyone would come properly dressed,” he said. “We hate to turn anybody away, but we will.”
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.