Utah Reporter’s Bare Shoulders Get Her Banned From Court; Returns With Sleeves

She showed up wearing what she wore to work – a nice blouse that looked professional for the workplace. But that apparently was too risque for one Utah court bailiff, who told reporter Morgan Briesmaster that she would not be allowed in the courtroom since she was wearing a sleeveless top.

Briesmaster’s boss, executive editor Andrew Howell of the Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah, relayed the story in a post on the newspaper’s website, complete with photo of Briesmaster wearing the “risque” top (seen above).

“On Tuesday (June 3), new justice reporter Morgan Briesmaster went to court to cover a case along with fellow reporter Ben Lockhart. As they proceeded through security, Morgan was told that she wouldn’t be allowed in the courtroom wearing a sleeveless top,” Howell writes. “Now, she wasn’t wearing a halter top or bikini piece. As you can see from the accompanying photo, she was wearing a nice sleeveless blouse that many professional women wear on a hot summer’s day. This would be proper attire anywhere, except, I guess, at Wasatch High and Ogden’s 2nd District Court.”

Since she wasn’t allowed in the courtroom, the cub reporter had to sit in the lobby while one of her colleagues covered the court case since they had shared a car, according to Howell.

He points out that this is not the first time a controversy had erupted in the area over sleeves on women, noting that a local high school was recently mired in controversy over a photoshopping incident in the school yearbook.

“You probably know the story by now about the school. Some students were shocked to notice that their yearbook photos had been altered without their permission to comply with the Heber City school’s dress code. One student in particular had sleeves added via Photoshop to cover her bare shoulders,” he said, before adding, “I guess 2nd District Court has the same dress policy.”

Media blogger Jim Romenseko said he received an e-mail from Briesmaster, who said she wore a long sleeve shirt to another recent court case she had to cover. Surprisingly, she had no trouble and was actually offered assistance by staff at the courthouse while bringing in heavy equipment to cover a court case, which actually featured a woman who ironically wore a sleeveless shirt to a hearing a month ago without fuss.

“This time, the defendant was dressed ‘very conservatively,’ I’m told by Standard-Examiner investigative reporter Cimaron Neugebauer, and ‘even the skirt went past her knees. No bare shoulders this time,'” Romenesko reported.

The way these Utah officials are acting, it almost feels like they are wanting to join Swaziland in banning mini skirts, right?

What do you think? Is there anything wrong with the top Briesmaster is wearing in the photo above? Did the bailiff overreact?

[Image via Ogden Standard-Examiner]

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