SAINT JOSEPH COUNTY – This week a ban went into effect on cell phones at all court houses in Saint Joseph County.
The big reason for this ban is to prevent people from using them to record court proceedings or take pictures of witnesses or jurors.
A similar ban was on the books at Elkhart County court houses until about six years ago. It was modified because a lot of people were forced to return to their cars to put their phones or find places to put them.
In many cases, those people were there for non-court functions. Now cell phones can be brought in but judges require them to be off during court sessions to prevent problems with courthouse visitors.
“When you have to send people out to their cars, if it’s raining, snowing, or any kind of bad weather, you delay them and inconvenience them,” said Judge Bowers. “You generally don’t make them very happy and so we need to balance that out.”
Judge Bowers says he wholeheartedly shares the concern about cell phones being used inappropriately to record any court proceedings.