Supreme Court allows cellphones in courtrooms

It has been a tradition for years in Michigan courts to ban cellphones and electronic devices inside the courthouse. But that ban will end this May.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled this month that cellphones, laptops, tablets and similar devices will be allowed inside all 242 Michigan courthouse in May.

The change came after advocates presented compelling reasons for having cellphones inside the court, said Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, according to local media. “We appreciate the willingness of local courts to implement this reform that will help make sure the doors to our courts are open to all.”

Opponents of the measure say that having electronic devices introduces chaos into court proceeds and could be used to intimidate witnesses.

The ruling also allows the public to use cellphones to copy public records as long as it does not interfere with the clerk’s work.

However, the rule bars audio or video recording of court proceedings without the permission of a judge, prohibits photos of jurors, and allows judges to sanction those who break those restrictions, including the ability to charge rule-breakers with contempt of court. 

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