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Court video online raises call for blanket cellphone policy

February 21, 2014

Another recent incident of video streamed online that could compromise criminal courts has led judges in Marion County to consider a blanket policy restricting cellphone use in courtrooms.

Marion Superior Criminal Division 20 Judge Steven Eichholtz on Friday told the courts’ executive committee that recurring incidents of court sessions being recorded and posted online and other problems should be met with a unified policy for all courts in the City-County Building.

Judges have expressed similar concerns before, and Eichholtz said he was recently informed of another incident in which court proceedings wound up online. He said he’s also aware of photos of confidential informants and jurors that have been posted on social media.

“If this stuff continues, it’s a danger to the public,” he said.

Currently, each judge sets policy for his or her own courtroom, but Eichholtz said a uniform rule is needed. Judges agreed that if the courts spoke with one voice on the issue, it would also publicize any rule that’s approved by the judges of the Marion Superior general term.

Eichholtz said he’s adopted a policy that cellphones can’t be used in court except by attorneys or pro se litigants for court purposes.

Policies vary around the state. In Allen County, for instance, cellphones may not be brought into the courthouse except by attorneys or people authorized to have them. Saint Joseph and Lake counties have similarly restrictive policies.

 

 

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