No-one Is Above the Law

By DeusExMacintosh

US Judge fines self for contempt

A Michigan judge whose smartphone disrupted a hearing in his own courtroom has held himself in contempt and paid $25 for the infraction.

Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy at Ionia County 64A District Court stating that electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia and reported.

On Friday afternoon, during a prosecutor’s closing argument as part of a jury trial, Voet’s new smartphone began to emit sounds requesting phone voice commands. Voet said he thinks he bumped the phone, and the embarrassment likely left his face red…

Over the years, the judge whose court is about 110 miles northwest of Detroit has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends. During a break in the trial, Voet held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine.

“Judges are humans,” Voet said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”

Sydney Morning Herald


  1. Posted April 23, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    He could have thrown in a supercilious lecture to himself while he was at it.

  2. Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I suppose he sort of did with his comment about breaking his own rule.

    Also: we are being spammed mightily again. Please bear with us if your comment takes a while to appear.

  3. Adrien
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I reckon this fella has the law within him, as someone I forget who once said. No-one’s above the law but there’s variety of classes that appear to be beyond it.

  4. Posted April 23, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    There is nothing more embarrassing than thinking you have your phone on silent, and bumping the ‘Siri’ button.

    I tell my clients to turn their phones off, not just on silent, or leave them outside the court-room.

    I once had a client pull out his phone whilst a prosecution witness was being cross examined. The first I knew of it was when the Magistrate interrupted me, and asked if my client was interested in continuing the trial!

  5. Posted April 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    I may be a mobile refusnik but was highly entertained when a friend introduced me to the concept of the “pocket call”, that silent phone call you get because someone has inadvertently knocked their own phone and caused it to redial.

  6. Posted April 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Yep, have both done that and had it done to me, although not recently. It’s interesting when you pick up and get a whole series of crunching noises (everyone seems to store crisps in their pockets) or snatches of overheard conversation.

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