Inappropriate cell phone use — we’ve seen them used during wedding ceremonies — has gotten out of control. So it’s great to see a tough-minded jurist take a stand against this growing problem:
A judge detained and questioned a row of spectators when a cell phone rang for a third time in her courtroom, later ordering two people to serve community service for contempt of court.
When no one admitted having the ringing phones Wednesday, Lake County Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell told all five people in the row to sit in chairs reserved for jail inmates. They stayed there for more than an hour until the morning court call ended.
Boswell found three people in contempt of court because they initially refused to say who had the ringing phones.
Ah yes — a time-honored technique for disciplining second-graders. But if people are going to act like discourteous morons, we can’t fault Judge Boswell for treating them as such. Judge Detains Five Over Ringing Phones [Associated Press]
We briefly linked to this item yesterday, but now we have a little more to add. Here’s what the New York Post reported:
[Organized crime defendant John "Junior"] Gotti helped Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin celebrate her 60th birthday by serenading her from his seat at the defense table yesterday.
“I led the attack,” Gotti said outside of court. “Everyone was saying, ‘We’re going to sing, we’re going to sing,’ and then they started chickening out.”
The bizarre and unusual birthday celebration was carried out in the courtroom – which was mysteriously closed to the public – before jury selection in Gotti’s racketeering trial resumed for a third day.
What makes this even more unusual is how the judge reacted:
Later in the day the judge got some chuckles when she agreed to excuse a potential juror who had plans to travel to Paris to celebrate her mother’s 60th birthday. “I’m particularly sympathetic to 60th birthdays,” Scheindlin said.
It’s surprising to hear that Judge Scheindlin took things so well. Although she’s not related to “Judge Judy” (a.k.a. Judge Judith Sheindlin — different spelling), one couldn’t be blamed for thinking so. The Honorable Shira has a reputation has a holy terror. She works her clerks like dogs, berates them frequently, and sometimes even makes them cry. Don’t pee on her robe and tell her it’s raining!
So Judge Scheindlin’s good-humored reaction to the in-court birthday festivities is somewhat unexpected. Guess it just goes to show that even the toughest judge can be buttered up with birthday wishes. ‘JUNIOR’ SINGS SOPRANO: SERENADES JUDGE WITH HAPPY B’DAY [New York Post]
Over at the WSJ Law Blog, they have a “Judge of the Day” feature (see, e.g., here). We like the idea so much that we’re going to start up our own version.
But as you’ll see from our choices, our “Judge of the Day” selection criteria are a bit different. Our inaugural ATL Judge of the Day is the Honorable Deborah Tyner, of the Oakland County Circuit Court. Here’s why she deserves this honor:
A suburban Detroit judge who was filmed shopping, working out at a gym and visiting a spa during repeated absences from the bench last winter says she will leave at year’s end.
WDIV-TV followed [Judge] Tyner for several weeks last winter and reported that she repeatedly left the courthouse at lunchtime and did not return to the bench. Tyner said then that she had done nothing wrong and was caught up with her cases.
Shopping excursions? Spa visits? Regular work-outs at the gym? This jurist has her priorities straight. She’s fabulous!
Quite frankly, we don’t understand the “scandal” here. If a judge gets her work done, why can’t she check out a little early, and treat herself to a hot stone massage?
Law clerks and law firm associates have to put in face time, sure. But judges? What’s the point of being on the bench if you can’t play hooky every now and then? Mich. Judge to Leave the Bench [Associated Press] Oakland Judge to Leave Bench [Detroit Free Press]
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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