34th Judicial District Court in Chalmette won’t allow cell phones in Courthouse after Jan. 1 except for officers of the court and lawyers; There are concerns about photo and video capabilities on the new phones

Posted: December 23rd, 2013 | Filed under: Announcements, News Releases

Reacting to changing technology which allows photos and video recordings to be made on cell phones, the 34th Judicial District Court in Chalmette will prohibit cell phones being brought into the Courthouse after Jan. 1 except for officers of the court and lawyers, Chief Judge Jacques Sanborn said.

Previously, people entering the Courthouse were allowed to bring in cell phones but told they must keep them off in courtrooms so proceedings wouldn’t be disturbed.

“But some people weren’t following instructions,’’ the judge said, and would turn them back on after they were inside.

If a cell phone went off in court it would be taken away by a court officer and returned to the offending person later, he said. As of Jan. 1, people will be turned away at the door by security until they come back without a cell phone, said Judge Sanborn, chief judge this year.

There have been more and more incidents of phones being used and now, with the so-called “smart’’ phones which have the capability to take photos and make video recordings, their use can’t be tolerated, said Judge Sanborn.

Recording devices are not allowed in Louisiana courts by rule of the state Supreme Court.

“Some people were caught taking photos in court or recording proceedings,’’ on cell phones, Judge Sanborn said. “We can’t allow that.’’

St. Charles Parish’s state court recently announced a similar policy of no cell phones.