Cell Phones Checked at Criminal Courthouses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A new restriction on cell phones and other electronics is set to begin Monday at one of the busiest criminal court facilities in the country.

    A new restriction on cell phones and other electronics is set to begin Monday at one of the busiest criminal court facilities in the country.

    Cook County criminal courthouses begin their ban on electronic devices, including cell phones, smartphone, tablets, laptops and any electronic device capable of connecting to the internet or making audio or video recordings at all Cook County courthouses, except the Daley Center.

    Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans first put the ban in motion in December, despite much criticism.

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    The new rule is aimed at gang members who were attempting to intimidate witnesses, judges, jurors and prospective jurors by taking their pictures inside the courthouse. Judges were also concerned about people texting testimony to witnesses waiting outside the courtroom.

    Kiosks will be available for those who are unaware of the ban, but will cost $3 and have limited availability.

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    Current and former judges, attorneys, government employees, reporters and people reporting for jury duty are exempt from the ban will be allowed to bring in electronic devices and use them in public areas.

    Those violating the electronic ban could face prosecution for contempt of court.