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Every single day, courtrooms all across America are filled with judges lecturing defendants and occasionally lawyers on how best to follow the rules. Last week in Michigan, however, a courtroom was filled with the sounds of a judge lecturing himself after his cell phone went off in the middle of a prosecutor’s closing arguments.
According to MLive, Judge Raymond Voet long ago posted a policy in his Iona County 64A District Court letting all those in attendance know if their phone rings, they will be held in contempt. Unfortunately for the judge, his new smart phone went off on Friday after he mistakenly bumped it. It loudly asked for voice commands, and he responded by holding himself in contempt. Like everyone else who has violated the policy, the judge imposed a $25 fine on himself and paid it after the session.
“Judges are humans. They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it."
No doubt the cell phone incident was pretty embarrassing for Judge Voet, but in a way, it actually humanizes him a bit and makes him seem more credible. It speaks to his character and his quick decision-making. That being said, I’m pretty sure he’ll be a paranoid wreck and check his phone several times before he enters a courtroom from this point forward.
Let this be a lesson to you the next time you observe a trial. There are few things that piss judges off more than phones, regardless of who the device belongs to.