Cell Phone/Portable Electronic Device Policy
21st DISTRICT COURT POLICY FOR
USE OF PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICES
EFFECTIVE: May 1, 2020
Cell phone and other portable electronic devices will be permitted within the 21st District Courthouse under the below rules.
Any allowed use of a portable electronic device is subject to the authority of the Judges of this Court to terminate any use that is disruptive or distracting to court proceedings, contrary to the administration of justice, or compromises courthouse security.
Failure to comply with these rules may result in immediate seizure of the device, as well as other sanctions, including contempt of court and jail.
1) Prior to entering the courthouse, ALL portable electronic devices must be placed on SILENT MODE. No sounds may be emitted by any device.
2) Photographing, video or audio recording, live streaming, and broadcasting using a portable electronic device are ALL ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED anywhere within the courthouse, including specifically within any courtroom and public area, in the absence of a signed order by a Judge of this Court, or for reproduction of documents in paragraph 10 below.
This rule does not modify or supercede the guidelines for media coverage of court proceedings set forth in Administrative Order No. 1989-1.
3) Prior to entering a courtroom, members of the public are strongly encouraged to completely turn off their portable electronic device to avoid any potential violation of these rules and seizure of the device.
4) During any interaction with court staff, the court user may be asked to put their cell phone in plain sight and asked to turn the device off until the conversation is completed.
5) Upon entering a courtroom, attorneys, parties, and members of the public are permitted to use a silenced portable electronic device to retrieve or to store information (including notetaking), to access the internet, and to send/receive text messages/information. RECORDING OR STORAGE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL’S PERSONAL INFORMATION GIVEN WHILE IN THE COURTHOUSE OR COURTROOM IS ABSOLUTELY PROHIBITED. Any use of a device in violation of these rules may result in seizure of the device and the user may be sanctioned.
6) While within a courtroom or courthouse, a portable electronic device may not be used to make or to receive telephone calls or for any other audible function without permission of the Court.
7) While within a courtroom or courthouse, a portable electronic device may not be used to communicate in any way whatsoever with another person in the courtroom or courthouse. This restriction includes attorneys, parties, members of the public, witnesses, and jurors.
8) While within a courtroom, a party or witness may only use a portable electronic device while testifying with permission of the Judge.
9) While within a courtroom, all jurors and prospective jurors must turn off their portable electronic device. During deliberations, the Judge may order jurors to turn over to the Court any portable electronic device, so long as the Court provides jurors with an alternative phone number so that a juror can be reached in case of an emergency.
10) Attorneys, parties, and members of the public may use a portable electronic device to reproduce court documents in a
designated court office so long as the process does not unreasonably interfere with the operation of the clerk’s office and the device leaves no mark or impression on the document.
a) A “portable electronic device” is a mobile device capable of electronically storing, accessing, or transmitting information and includes, among other devices a smart phone, I phone, cell phone, watch, eyeglasses, laptop, tablet, notebook, transportable computer, personal digital assistant, camera, any audio or video recording device, and any other similar item that may provide access to the internet.
b) A “courthouse” includes all areas within the exterior walls of a court building as well as any area outside a court building where a Judge conducts an event concerning a court case.
c) A “courtroom” includes any portion of a courthouse in which actual proceedings take place.