Judges and cell phones in court don’t mix

June 9, 2008
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   Judges have the right to control their courtrooms to maintain civility and safety, but throwing people in jail because of a ringing cell phone is extreme. That’s what Niagara Falls City Court Judge Robert Restaino did when no one claimed a beeping cell phone while he was hearing domestic violence cases. No one claimed it, so he jailed 46 people – everyone except the attorneys and court staff.  



 



On June 5, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the New York Commission on Judicial Conduct’s decision to remove him from the bench, calling his behavior “inexcusable.” The Court of Appeals decided an extreme punishment was needed for the judge’s extreme behavior. 



 Judges must not like ringing cell phones in their courtrooms.

A couple of years ago Lake County Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell fined a woman $100 after her cell phone rang during the morning court call and assigned community service to the other people sitting in the row where the cell phone rang for not fessing up right away when the judge questioned who owned the phone. Though not as extreme as the New York judge’s actions, Judge Boswell obviously wanted to make a point that ringing cell phones – and not claiming the phone quickly – won’t be tolerated. At least she didn’t throw anyone in jail.



 These kinds of incidents raise the question as to how much power a judge should have over his or her courtroom and when do the judge’s actions cross the line and become “inexcusable.” Ringing cell pones are annoying, but I’m just not sure they warrant jail time or even community service.
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  • On2-17-2010 my son went before a judge in medford oregon for driving without license got 10 days for ticket and 10 days for cell phone ring,same county couple busted 220 pounds of pot with value of 500.000 found guilty 30 days in jail. where is Justice in this he lost 3 weeks pay maybe job.

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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