Going To Court? Watch Out For Electronic Devices


If you bring a cell phone into court, one day it will ring, and it may cost you, reports the National Law Journal. Lawrence F. Clark, a Dauphin County, Pa., judge, recently ordered a bailiff to drop a ringing cell phone out of a five-story window onto a roof below. Fortunately, the bailiff had taken it away from its owner first.

The Illinois Supreme Court has long banned camera and recording devices in courtrooms. In December, it said that, “[T]he use of the terms ‘photographs,’ ‘broadcasting’ and ‘televising’ include the audio or video transmissions or recordings made by telephones, personal data assistants, laptop computers and other wired or wireless data transmission and recording devices.” Gary Dodge, administrator for Illinois’ 18th Judicial Circuit in DuPage County, said, “If one is spotted, they’re required to return them to their vehicles.”

Federal courts in the Middle District of Florida ban cell phones. In an experiment allows lawyers to check cell phones in lockers in the lobby of the federal building. Laptops are allowed by individual court order. PDAs are allowed if they do not have recording or photo-taking capabilities. “It is a difficult task that requires each device to be screened,” said a marshal. “The ever-changing and evolving technology and the multifunctions of devices makes the delineation between acceptable and unacceptable devices difficult.” Translation: He appreciates the fact that lawyers and the general public don’t get hot-tempered when the lines to enter their federal buildings back up.

Link: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1082923340599

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