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. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  2. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  3. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  4. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  5. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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