Courthouse cell phone ban postponed

April 17, 2010

A state judiciary committee decision on recommending a statewide policy that could ban electronics such as cell phones from Maryland courthouses, was postponed Friday. The committee wants to redraft the policy to allow cell phones, but their use would be "very controlled," said Sandra F. Haines, the reporter for the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, an arm of the state court system. The move raises issues of inconvenience for the public and access for journalists, but proponents say it would protect witness identities by preventing cell phone pictures of them, and minimize disruptions. The committee is scheduled to vote on the policy May 14. Its recommendations to the Court of Appeals, which establishes statewide court policies, for a vote.

–Jessica Anderson

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