Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced beginning January 14, 2013, the public will not be permitted to bring cell phones and other electronic devices into any Circuit Court of Cook County courthouse facility except for the Richard J. Daley Center Courthouse. The ban will affect only those courthouse facilities in which criminal matters are heard.*
Included in the ban are all electronic devices capable of connecting to the Internet or making audio or video recordings, including laptops and tablet computers.Chief Judge Evans said, “Judges brought their concerns to me that people attending court proceedings were using their cell phones to photograph witnesses, judges, jurors, and prospective jurors. They also said persons appeared to be texting testimony to witnesses waiting their turn to testify outside the courtroom, while others were attempting to stream live to media comments by judges from the bench.”
“The court is sending a strong message to gang members and others that any attempts to intimidate witnesses, jurors, and judges in court will not be permitted,” said Chief Judge Evans. “The ban will help to ensure that justice is properly done by preserving the integrity of testimony and maintaining court decorum.”
Anyone violating the ban could face prosecution for contempt of court.
The new ban on cell phones and electronic devices in all courthouse facilities in which criminal matters are heard is taking place pursuant to General Administrative Order 2012-8 entered by Chief Judge Evans today, December 11, 2012.