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. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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