April 14 (UPI) -- A Florida judge issued a letter to lawyers in his district reminding them to get out of bed and put on shirts before teleconferencing into online hearings.
Judge Dennis Bailey of Broward Circuit Court, which had started holding some hearings virtually using teleconferencing app Zoom, said in a letter posted on the Weston Bar Association website that conducting hearings outside of court is no excuse for letting decorum fall by the wayside.
"It is remarkable how many attorneys appear inappropriately on camera," Bailey wrote. "We've seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers."
"And putting on a beach cover-up won't cover up you're poolside in a bathing suit. So, please, if you don't mind, let's treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not," Bailey wrote.
Bailey said he believes hearings should be treated as formal court procedures, regardless of setting.
"I would want [attorneys] dressed showing some respect for their recognition that this is a court hearing," Bailey told the Miami Herald.
"You're going to earn the same amount of respect that you're shown," Bailey said. "If you show up in jeans and T-shirt, it's counterproductive."