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May 23, 2024

IL Supreme Court: It is no longer realistic to ask people to leave cell phones and other electronics at home when they visit courthouses –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On January 6, 2022

Illinois (ECWd) –

January 6, 2022

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today the adoption of a policy which will require every state courthouse in Illinois to adopt individual orders or rules regarding the use of portable electronic devices in their courthouse buildings and in their courtrooms.

In adopting this policy, the Court recognizes that portable electronic devices such as cell phones, computers, tablet, e-book readers are essential tools of today’s society. Many courthouses already possess policies which address the needs of lawyers, jurors, and other court users and staff to possess portable electronic devices in courthouses yet some bar members of the public and self-represented litigants (SRLs) from carrying their devices. The new policy acknowledges that portable electronic devices are often necessary for these court users and SRLs to access resources, conduct court business, accomplish procedural steps, and present evidence or arguments in their cases.

“The courts must adapt with the times, and this is an important way to address the needs of court users,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said. “It is no longer realistic to ask people to leave cell phones and other electronics at home when they visit courthouses.

The new policy allows for individual courts to address any security issues by allowing restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices in the circuit court’s local orders or rules. Courthouses will need to provide free storage for the equipment should the use of devices be restricted.

Courts will be required to post signs with information about their portable electronic device policies prominently in the courthouses, including at the entrances, in the clerks’ offices, and outside each courtroom. This information must also be publicized on the courts’ and clerks’ websites and in other publicly available places.

“We thank the Supreme Court for adopting the policy and in recognizing the importance of cell phones and other portable electronic devices to SRLs and other individuals conducting business in our courthouses.” said Justice Mary K. Rochford. “The Access to Justice Commission also
expresses appreciation to the various stakeholders who helped form and develop this crucial policy.”

The Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission (ATJ Commission) recommended the new policy to the Supreme Court with input from the Conference of Chief Judges. The Chair of the ATJ Commission is Justice Mary K. Rochford of the First Appellate District. The then Chair of the Conference of Chief Judges was Chief Judge Michael Kramer of the 21st Judicial District.

(FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Chris Bonjean, Communications Director to the
Illinois Supreme Court at 312.793.2323 or [email protected].)


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  • James
    Posted at 21:51h, 06 January

    I love this ““The courts must adapt with the times,” Nothing like getting a check for ten dollars a day to go through the “Voir dire” process. Oh and hey…who doesn’t think it would be a good idea for the people to bring their cell phone/camera into a court room. This state just keeps getting better everyday these people come together.
    Be safe out there people

  • Greg G
    Posted at 12:33h, 07 January

    People have no common sense using these phones1 The ringing and texting noise disrupt the court proceedings.. Leave it in your car! Most people can’t go to the bathroom without having the phone with them.

    • JIMBO
      Posted at 22:00h, 08 January

      Many people use alternate forms of transportation.

      In addition to not being able to leave it in the car, there’s no good option for leaving it on a transit bus and/or taxi. And if you walk or bicycle, well then there’s that.

      On the issue of cell phones and electronic devices, pro se litigants ought to be afforded the same as attorneys.

    Posted at 12:52h, 07 January

    The SC clerk requires information requestors to fill-out and submit a carbon copy form in order to review a judge’s economic interest statement. How’s that for striving to adapt with the times? A real 20th century carbon paper form is still required circulation in the Illinois judiciary. But unlike requiring other courts to adopt policies on cell phones and electronic devices to keep up with the times, the antiquated carbon copy form requirement is in [their] own damn wheelhouse.

  • cme
    Posted at 09:40h, 11 January

    This is extremely bad for people in areas where current covid restrictions prevent court watchers from witnessing the proceedings. The order isn’t what people assume, it gives the lower courts the ability to enforce overbearing rules of no cell phones allowed in the courtroom on its most vulnerable citizens preventing any evidence from being created that isn’t within their full control. This leaves every citizen vulnerable to the whims of any tyrant who may have succeeded in acquiring a seat on the bench, in a position where Judges have already been provided a high degree of immunity. If malfeasance or misconduct isn’t documented then you can’t prove it occurred to anyone, rendering any complaint you file unable to succeed. with no other way to prove it happened in the first place.