Jailtime For Letting A Phone Ring In Court

from the think-this-judge-is-unhappy-with-ringing-phones? dept

A 17-year-old girl who was in court for other charges is now going to be spending an extra 21 days in jail for contempt of court. What was so contemptible? Letting her mobile phone ring in the courtroom — specifically after a judge told everyone to silence their phones. It appears the judge was particularly adamant about making sure people understood they should turn their phones off, as his message to them included: “If you don’t know how to shut it off, go outside and introduce it to the heel of your shoe.” So, it’s really not a huge surprise that he’d look to set an example of anyone who kept their phone’s ringer on. However, no matter how annoying the ringing may be, does it really deserve three weeks in jail?

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Comments on “Jailtime For Letting A Phone Ring In Court”

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Steve Mueller (user link) says:


To be fair, she really only got at most one day in jail. She was cited on Tuesday for contempt and sentenced to 45 days for a drug charge on Wednesday with the sentences running concurrently. So she only served one extra day for the contempt charge.

The thing I want to know is how the judge knew she had been “playing with it all morning”. Was he watching the 17-year-old all morning?

As for whether the sentence was justified, probably not. How long would you have sentenced her for contempt of court?

Precision Blogger (user link) says:


The trouble with this long sentence is that it will not prevent others from doing the same thing, as it will not be publicized enough. It may reflect the judge’s frustration, as cellphones are a great nuisance in trials. In the jury room, people are often allowed to put their precious briefcases in a locked room. They are told to turn the cellphones off, but the jurors in the jury room sometimes hear phones rining in the locked room for hours. Nothing can be done about them.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Yes. It’s his court. Period.

In corporate meetings I start by saying, with a big smile, “Now would be a good time to put phones and whatnot into a silent mode; if they ring, you have to stand on the table and dance a little jig…”. I’ve never actually enforced this – the rest of the group generally gives the first ringer enough joking demands for the dance that there isn’t a second ringer.

So, yeah, were I a judge, I’d do this again and again until the word spread.

RJD says:


Of course she does. It’s called respect or lack thereof. No doubt, stupidity in her case.

Nice thing about actually using punishment is that people tend to understand it. The ‘threat’ of punishment is lost of most people.

Would have been more apropro to give her a choice: 3 weeks in Jail or 1 year with no cell phone. Abuse the privleage, lose it.

paket says:

Judge was out of line

The phone should have been taken away on the first ring, and given back to the owner after the session. Anything more is out of line. This is more a story about someone flexing his power just because he can, rather than a cell phone.
I prescribe a collective enema for everyone out there who get upset over a phone ringing. Relax people – it’s just a phone. It’s not like you never heard one before.

obstuse squirrel says:

phones in court

I doubt that all the details are evident here. If you play thru the details with the image of a 17 year old Courtney Love, you get one image, and if you run thru it with say you may say it was excessive.

I doubt that the 17 year old was in a courtroom for anything good. And the judge was probably right to try to pound in some concept that he was making the rules, and not her.

It could save her some future pain if that soaked in during the 21 days of whatever actually was served (community service, or real rack time)

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