Chicago lawyer Sladjana Vuckovic has been hit with the unusual felony charge of bringing her cellphone into a police interview room, reports the Chicago Tribune. The charge has sparked a controversy in the legal community. Several criminal-defense lawyers cannot remember a similar prosecution before in Illinois and said they routinely bring cellphones into police interview rooms and sometimes let clients make calls, particularly to relatives if they express skepticism that the lawyer is truly there to defend them.
There are no signs prohibiting the bringing of a cellphone into an interview room, the lawyers said, and detectives rarely ask them to leave their belongings outside. “If the state is attempting to interpret the statute so broadly that it includes the interview rooms at the police stations, then hundreds of lawyers in Illinois are committing Class 1 felonies on a daily basis,” said Richard Dvorak, a civil-rights lawyer. Prosecutors have not alleged that calls on Vuckovic’s hphone were meant to obstruct their investigation, but that clearly appears to be their concern.