Judge fines self for cellphone violation

by Walter Olson on April 20, 2013

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

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Advice Goddess Blog
04.22.13 at 9:00 am


1 Ed 04.20.13 at 5:09 pm

Good for him; someone with integrity!

2 Evan 04.20.13 at 7:14 pm

Three cheers, with total sincerity, for the rule of law which applies equal justice to all!

3 VMS 04.21.13 at 3:27 pm

I applaud the judge for fining people $25 (including himself) for having cell phones going off in the courtroom, but I admonish him for doing so under his contempt powers. $25 is not an excessive fine, and may make act as a deterrent to others to double check their phones to ensure they are turned off before entering the courtroom.

Contempt of court for non-willful behavior is a big problem since such a finding tarnishes people’s reputations and results in unintended reporting requirements. For example, someone who was found in contempt of court and fined $25 would have to report such contempt of court on each bar application, security clearance questionnaire, employment application, firearms license application (in certain states) etc. Many of these applications require reporting convictions, but rightly except traffic infraction convictions. Not so with a finding of contempt of court.

4 Taat Subekti 04.26.13 at 10:10 am

It’s a great admiration that a judge is willing to fine her/himself. Other judges, and also other legal officials, should follow this example. No matter who you are, what status you have, you should do your obligation right away before you ask for your rghts.

5 Ron Miller 04.26.13 at 10:53 am

Giving yourself a $25 fine has certainly earned this judge a lot of praise. Sorry to be cynic but there are a lot more noble acts occurring at your local supermarket right now.

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