Cell phones banned on most court property - WNEM TV 5

Cell phones banned on most court property

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Saginaw County Courthouse. Saginaw County Courthouse.

What if you were told you can't bring your cell phone into a public building?

That's exactly what's happening after a Mid-Michigan county put a new "electronic device policy" in place at local courtrooms.

Saginaw County leaders say it's a matter of public safety, but now an attorney is challenging the ban, which he says violates citizens' rights.

The ban was put into place in mid-December and applies to court-related facilities including the Saginaw County Circuit Court, District Court, Probate Court (including the Juvenile, Family Court), the courtrooms, court administrative offices, Friend of the Court offices, probation offices and related common areas.

According to a news release by the court, "the use of electronic devices, particularly cell phones, has increasingly become an issue in our local courts; including ring tones disrupting proceedings, spectators photographing witnesses, jurors conducting online research and other problems brought on by the use of this technology."

The release continues, "in an effort to better control the courts' environment, the courts have jointly adopted, and the Michigan Supreme Court has approved, a new Local Administrative Order that prohibits possession and/or use of electronic devices in the Saginaw County courtrooms and other court related space, including hallways and departmental offices and counters."

Currently, members of the State Bar of Michigan -- judges and attorneys -- are being exempted from the ban. Members of the public with a need to use a device for evidence or other use, a judge can allow it by giving them a permission slip.

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