Cook County cell phone ban postponed until April 15
Statement from Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans Circuit Court of Cook County
“A new court order enforcing the ban of electronic communication and Internet devices inside the Circuit Court of Cook County goes into effect Monday, January 14, 2013. The attached General Administrative Order No. 2013-01 prohibits electronic communication and Internet devices inside courthouse facilities except for a new specified list of persons outlined in the order. The order is being enacted to provide safety within the courts, prevent pictures being taken with electronic devices and help to protect innocent individuals and those testifying in court.
“According to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, more than 8,000 cases are on call for next week. That is an example of the magnitude of our court system and how important it is to enact stringent safety measures.
“The order will be introduced during a three-month grace period ending on Monday, April 15, 2013. During the grace period, the Circuit Court of Cook County will work with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to remind people entering a courthouse, communication devices are prohibited. It will be strongly suggested devices remain in the car.
“In an effort to aid those taking public transportation to various courthouses, the Circuit Court of Cook County is assigning a person to work with Cook County’s real estate and facilities department heads to quickly find a solution for storage of said devices – a claim check system or providing locker facilities as examples.
“During the grace period, if a person cannot leave the device in a car or with a companion outside the courtroom, the device can remain with the person inside the courtroom but in the off position. If a person is identified as powering on the device, the person may be held in contempt of court and possibly face penalties ordered by the judge.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure that justice is properly done by preserving the integrity of testimony and maintaining court decorum. We understand this may be an inconvenience to some, but our primary goal is to protect those inside our courthouses and perhaps save lives in the process.”