INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana attorney who hates socks and has a habit of appearing in court with bare feet stuffed into his shoes faces possible sanctions if he shows up without them again in court.
In a directive issued in an Aug. 26 court order, Blackford Circuit Judge Dean A. Young addresses Todd Glickfield's courtroom fashion faux pas and explains the court decorum policy and the judge's authority to set rules, including a dress code.
"It strikes me that the judge is entirely within his authority to require that the attorney wear socks in the courtroom," said Maureen B. Collins, a professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, who teaches a class in lawyering skills.
Collins said socks are well within the definition of "proper business attire" proscribed by the local rules. She added Glickfield seems more interested in his own comfort than how he presents himself on behalf of his client.
"While he may fancy himself the Matthew McConaughey of the Indiana Bar, this attorney should recognize that socks are part of the uniform worn by attorneys to demonstrate a respect for the formality of the courtroom and for the people whose lives are impacted by the decisions made in it," Collins said. "In my opinion, the attorney should grow up and put on a pair of socks."
Glickfield, of Marion, Ind., and Young did not return calls seeking comment.
In the three-page decorum directive, which is posted on The Indiana Law Blog, Young writes that when Glickfield appeared in Young's Hartford City, Ind., courtroom on Aug. 22 he observed the attorney "was not wearing socks upon his feet" but was otherwise appropriately dressed.
During a break in the hearing, the order says, Young privately advised Glickfield "that he was not appropriately dressed as required by Local Rule, and that the court would insist upon him wearing socks should he choose to present cases in the Blackford Circuit Court in the future."
"Attorney Glickfield advised the court," the judge wrote in his order, "that 'I hate socks' and that he's had 'this conversation with other judges in other courts.' "
Unless the judge could show him applicable "orders or other legal authority," the judge noted, Glickfield said "he would continue his habit of appearing sockless in court."
The exchange prompted Young's order, which says the court has "inherent powers to maintain appropriate decorum in matters that come before this court." The judge said that standard is important "when members of the public are engaged in litigation, or as spectators in proceedings before the court."
The judge said local court rules state "attorneys shall be punctual and dressed in appropriate business attire when appearing in court."
"The Blackford Circuit Court considers socks to constitute a part of 'appropriate business attire' for male members of the bar presenting cases before the court," the order says.
That rule, the judge explained in the order, is applied to all other attorneys who appear in Young's court and was approved by the Indiana Supreme Court in 2010.
Kathryn Dolan, a spokeswoman for the state's high court said, however, that "the Supreme Court has not and does not approve local court rules regarding attorney attire." She added there is no statewide dress code for attorneys who appear in Indiana courts.
In his order, Young directed Glickfield "to never again appear for a legal proceeding in the Blackford Circuit Court unless he is entirely clad in 'appropriate business attire' which includes socks upon his feet. The court also observes that on occasions Mr. Glickfield has appeared in past proceedings without wearing a tie and while wearing an open-collared shirt."
If Glickfield violates the order, Young wrote the attorney will be subject to sanctions, including delays in proceedings — with Glickfield responsible for costs incurred by other litigants because of those delays — and the possibility of being found in contempt of court.
Left unanswered in the debate is the fate of female attorneys who may appear in Young's court not wearing pantyhose.
Evans also reports for The Indianapolis Star.