Michigan Supreme Court looks for consistent ruling on cell phones in court houses | Michigan Radio
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Michigan Supreme Court looks for consistent ruling on cell phones in court houses

Nov 19, 2019

Credit William Hook / Unsplash

The Michigan Supreme Court is considering a change that would allow cell phones in court houses. They’re taking public comment this week.

Right now, local judges are allowed to decide whether or not cell phones can be brought into a court.

John Nevin is with the State Supreme Court. He says the proposed change has gotten a lot of attention.

"We’re hearing from a lot of folks who say ‘yes, lets get with the times, let's do this.’ We’ve also heard from county clerks who say ‘wait a minute we shouldn’t let folks bring their cell phones into the county clerk's office to take pictures of files," he says.

Nevin says some courthouses make money from copies of files and are concerned about a loss of revenue. He says law enforcement groups have also raised concerns about individuals taking pictures or recording in the courtroom.

Nevin says the issue has attracted more comments than almost any other proposed rule change he’s seen.

Currently, local judges are allowed to decide whether or not cell phones can be brought into a court.

"If you’re in Mount Pleasant you may have one set of rules, if you are in Grand Rapids you have another set of rules or if you’re in Traverse City or Alpena you have another set of rules," Nevin says. "We’re looking to create more uniformity from court to court."

Nevin says the Supreme Court does not have an opinion on the rules.

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