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PRESS ADVISORY: New Guidelines for the Use & Possession of Electronic Devices in Court Facilities To Take Effect Aug. 1, 2008

New guidelines that take effect Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, regarding the use and possession of electronic devices in Connecticut’s state court facilities will allow members of the public to bring their camera phones in to court -- although they are still prohibited from taking pictures inside a court facility.

Chief Court Administrator Barbara M. Quinn approved the guidelines in response to a vote of the state’s Superior Court judges at their annual meeting last month that cleared the way for the change.

“Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers and I believe the new rules will help the public greatly, particularly since finding a cell phone without a camera these days is extremely difficult,” Judge Quinn said. “As important, we hope that allowing people to bring in their camera phones will shorten the lines at the metal detector.”

Previously, judicial marshals had to bag and tag camera phones brought into the courthouses. “This was very time-consuming,” Judge Quinn added, “especially when you consider that the marshals bagged and tagged 290,000 camera phones last year.”

Under the new guidelines, a person may have any of the following electronic devices inside a state court facility:

  • A cell phone;
  • A camera cell phone;
  • A personal computer with or without video or audio recording capabilities;
  • A digital or tape audio recorder;
  • A personal digital assistant (PDA) with or without video or audio recording capabilities;
  • Any other electronic device that can broadcast, record or take photographs.

The guidelines prohibit a person from using a cell phone or any other electronic device to take pictures, take videos, make sound recordings, broadcast sound, or broadcast still or moving images inside a court facility. However, with a judge’s permission, an individual may use a personal computer for note-taking in a courtroom. In addition, other electronic devices may be used in a courtroom if permitted by the judge or other judicial authority or permitted by court rules.

Requests from the media to broadcast, televise, record or photograph court proceedings and trials will continue to be governed by the Connecticut Practice Book, not these guidelines.

Violating the new guidelines could result in the electronic device being confiscated, so people who wish to bring one in to court are urged to familiarize themselves with what is allowed and what is not. The guidelines are available through the Judicial Branch website at https://www.jud.ct.gov/ElectronicDevices_superior.pdf (rev. 01/05/09).

For further information , please contact the External Affairs Division at 860-757-2270.


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