Cook County courthouse electronics ban starts today

Starting today, a crackdown on cell phones and other electronics will take effect at Cook County criminal courthouses.

Smartphones, computer tablets and other electronic devices will be banned at 26th and California Avenue, home to the busiest courthouse facility in the country.

Officials said the ban was necessary to stop courtroom intimidation, because people are misusing their phones to record judges, jurors and witnesses.

“They are taking photographs of witnesses attempting to intimidate them to convince them that this no snitch rule that’s occurring on a day by day basis outside should apply in the courtroom. We will not tolerate that,” Circuit Chief Justice Timothy Evans said.

Some people are exempt from the ban, like judges, attorneys and those serving jury duty.

Cell phones can be stored at three cash-operated storage machines – at a cost of $3 each.

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