New courthouse electronics policy begins Tuesday
URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Next Tuesday, people who stop at the Champaign County courthouse will be able to bring their cell phones, tablets or other electronic devices inside – provided they follow a strict set of rules.
A recent order from Presiding Judge Randy Rosenbaum removes some restrictions from the current policy, which does not allow ordinary people to bring devices inside. Lawyers, the media, and other courthouse staff can do this.
Highlights of this new order include:
- The devices can be used in lobbies and corridors as long as they do not disturb or threaten others.
- The devices, with a few exceptions, cannot be used to record people involved in cases, such as a witness in a trial.
- Ordinary people cannot use a device in a courtroom, with a few exceptions. For example, people can check their calendars to see if they are available for a future hearing date.
- No one can take photos or videos during a court hearing except members of the media who have prior permission.
- People cannot use a device to speak to a juror or a potential witness.
- Recording equipment – like a camera – cannot be brought into the courthouse unless it is for an approved event, such as a wedding, graduation from a problem-solving court or the media covering a case.
The order said anyone who breaks the rules can be kicked out of the courthouse or found in contempt of court, which could lead to jail time. Officials could also take the person’s device until they leave.
Judge Rosenbaum’s change gives more freedom and convenience to people who need their device at the courthouse for legitimate purposes, such as a juror reading an eBook to pass the time or someone appearing in court to check. documents. However, sheriff’s deputies who monitor the courthouse will now need to be on alert for people using their phones for nothing.
The policy regarding the devices of the Urbana courthouse has varied over the years. Retired judge Tom Difanis had tightened the rules for fear that witnesses would be harassed and recorded.
On January 6, the Illinois Supreme Court passed a policy stating that every county courthouse must have device rules. Among other things, the High Court said that courthouses that prohibit ordinary people from bringing devices inside must provide free storage.
“Courts have to adapt over time, and this is an important way to meet the needs of the courts.
users, ”Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said in a statement. “It is no longer realistic to ask people to leave their cells
phones and other electronic devices in the home when they visit courthouses.