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Courthouse Electronics Ban Delayed For Three Months

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 14, 2013 5:00PM

A ban on bringing electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets, slated to begin today, will be delayed while courts educate people about the new policy. According to the Chicago Tribune, Chief Judge Timothy Evans offered a three-month grace period to familiarize people with the ban. Judge Evans said in a statement on Friday, “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.”

The ban will affect 13 courthouses in Chicago and the suburbs, excluding the Richard J. Daley Center, and it affects any device which can make a recording or access the internet.

In December, Judge Evans told CBS2 it was “a step that became necessary,” since gang members had been reportedly seen taking pictures of judges and witnesses and texting testimony. “That provides a chilling effect on justice,” said Evans. Exceptions will be made for attorneys, judges and other government employees, as well as those involved with domestic violence cases.

Critics of the ban have pointed to extra delays in security checks as well as other issues, particularly regarding people who travel via public transportation. Apryl Russell, who was at the Leighton Criminal Court Building over the weekend told the Tribune, “How can you attend to your business if you can't have your phone? Where are you supposed to put them?”