Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cell Phonies...

As you walk into our local traffic courtroom, there is a sign beside the door. The sign reads "CELL PHONE ACTIVITY IS NOT PERMITTED IN THE COURTROOM. TURN OFF ALL DEVICES BEFORE ENTERING THE COURTROOM."

When the judge comes in and sits down, one of the first things he does is tell everyone in the courtroom that cell phone activity is not allowed, and to please step outside and turn them off if you haven't already done so. Oddly enough, damned near every time he says this someone turns off their phone IN THE COURTROOM, with the accompanying dings, doodles and tunes. The judge looks at the offender and says "And that would be the reason we ask you to step outside to turn them off."

Now, after this daily fiasco, you'd think people would get it, right? Not so much.

Today during trials, four separate people, at four separate times turned their cell phones off in the courtroom, making noises and interrupting the trials. But that's not even the best part.

One DEFENDANT, while testifying, stopped to answer his cell phone when it rang. During his own trial. The judge got so pissed at the guy, he told him to take the phone out and turn it off, then when he came back in the judge sat him down and made him wait until the end of court to finish his trial.

I wonder when they're going to start impounding phones at the door...


Ken said...

Right before New Years I went to traffic court with a buddy of mine in New York state for a speeding ticket he had received. I was only there because he was my ride to Albany and he had to stop there on the way. The court room we were in did not allow cell phones through the door. This allowed me to watch the antics of the offenders (mostly young kids and their parents) without interruptions.

The judge was very entertaining. My favorite was this one:
Judge- "What is that ring in your lip for."
Girl With Mother- "Oh well I have another one and they attach to each other."
J- "You know if you got in an accident going as fast as you were that contraption would rip your face off right?"
GWM- "Uhhh..."

the observer said...

They do in Kansas City MO. Even for something as non threatening as Housing Court.

Cell phone rudeness rants are something I could blog about every day if I wanted to. I like yours.

Me said...

A judge that I used to regularly appear before confiscated any phone that he heard ring...including those of lawyers and even his own court officer's phone one day. Not sure how--or if--anyone got them back.

Rev. Paul said...

At least one of the district court judges here in Anchorage smashes them with a hammer. On his bench.

And the sign on the door says he will.

Some people simply cannot be helped.

*Goddess* said...

I can't believe how ignorant people are when it comes to cell phones. I remember one video I saw of a traffic stop in which the officer kept telling the woman to step out of her vehicle but she kept right on yakking on her cell phone, even though he threatened several times to tase her. Gee, you'd think that might be enough to scare you into hanging up the doggone phone, but not that daft chick. Being tased worked, though.

Roanoke Cop said...

If your phone makes noise in court here, it gets confiscated. At the end of court the judge will give it back along with a fine for contempt of court. I've gotten really paranoid about my phone so I always turn it off. Once I evidently forgot and got a text message. Since it beeped only briefly nobody knew exactly where it came from, I turned and looked around with everyone else. After about five minutes I had to go to another courtroom and ripped the battery out in the hallway on the way. Close call. :D

Brett Allen said...

Another thing, which I am guilty of since I have only been to court once to sue my landlord and didn't realize it, DO NOT TALK.

Even if you're whispering, that court is really quiet, and the judge will hear you.

A few other people were talking as well, me & my room mate just happened to be on the front row, so when the Judge got pissed and yelled at everyone to be quiet, he looked at us.

Thankfully the landlord didn't show up, so we won by default, but I would assume that if they did, I would already be off to a bad start with the judge.

It's funny though, I have not felt the same shrinking feeling since being yelled at by a teacher in grade school.

It's amazing how much of an aura of authority and presence a judge has, to make full grown adults shrink in their seats.

Alex said...

Once, when I had to go to a courthouse to pay a parking ticket, before going through the metal detector they made everyone remove their cellphones and use the provided lockers to lock them away. The reason was that they didn't want any cameras in the courtroom, and so many phones these days include a camera.

tessa79 said...

I live in Virginia and the court house in Fredericksburg makes tou leave them in your vehicle. When you go through the metal detector and put your things in the little bucket, if there is a phone in the bucket they will not let you in. I was late to court once because I had to go back out to my car to put my phone away.

Front Porch Society said...

If I had been the judge, I would have thrown him in a cell for contempt of court and make him sit awhile before restarting his trial. Douche-bag!

Ann T. said...

Dear Officer Smith,
I remember when the telephone was something you were not obligated to answer every minute of every day.

Now there seems to be no excuse not to receive new instructions, heartburnings, and trivia at every moment of every day. Or to tell everyone in the vicinity how important or distressed you are if making the call.

The new laws about driving while phoning and the persistent regulations in courtrooms seem to be the only check on this behavior.

Ann T.

The Bus Driver said...

In most courts down here, phones aren't even allowed in the courthouse, there is a sign on the door stating this fact.

However, when I have to attend juvenile court for various reasons, the sheriff at the metal detector knows me (and the usual folks involved with juvenile court) so he lets us through, cellphones and all. He doesn't even bother to check our bags.

Since phones are technically not allowed in the courtroom, most of us have the common sense to simply turn them off or put them on silent. I usually choose to turn mine off (unless I have to keep an eye on the time - then its on silent prior to even walking into the courthouse), I don't want random noises to happen causing a disturbance in the court.

Front Porch Society said...

Nice. Now I have a troll on my website. Deleting every comment I get from the stupid kid, too.

dfeyen said...

One of our court commissioners will confiscate your cell phone on the spot, with the court deputies instructed to seek out and take your offending phone. You can reclaim it at the end of the court session by paying a $5 "fine" - cash only - with the proceeds going to charity.

Aurora said...

We were all better off before cell phones were ever invented. Ever wonder how life functioned efficiently before them? It did, and people didn't act so self-important that they couldn't go for an hour or two without being able to be reached.
Don't get me started on how annoying they are in public - or how distracting while you are driving.

jim said...

I connecticut court (Derby) they arent allowed in the building (unless your a juror and you shut it off) , but the sign above the courtroom also says No GHum Chewing. Also in a new york village courthouse (fishkill) they didnt say a word about bringing them in so i guess its all up to the courts. Odd how people dont just shut them off to begin with though.