Courts panel puts off vote on cell phone, laptop ban

March 10, 2010

A judiciary rules committee has postponed adopting a statewide policy on whether communications devices - including cell phones and laptops - will be allowed in Maryland courts. The group was set to vote on a rule banning such devices last week, but the issue has been held over until next month's meeting, said Sandra F. Haines, the reporter for the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, which is appointed by the Maryland Court of Appeals. Opponents of a ban argue that it amounts to backward thinking and extreme inconvenience, while proponents say it would protect witness identities by preventing cell phone pictures of them, and minimize disruptions. The issue will be added to the group's April 16 agenda.

- Tricia Bishop

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