General Administrative Order No. 2013-01 - CELL PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICES


IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:

Except as noted below, all mobile computing and telecommunication devices including, but not limited to, cellular telephones, smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and other electronic devices capable of connecting to the Internet or making audio or video recordings are prohibited in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

The following are exempt from the above prohibition:

1. Persons at the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois, who may use the telephone, SMS (short message service) texting, instant messaging, email, and word processing functions of a cell phone or other electronic device only in the public areas of the courthouse outside the courtrooms, and said electronic devices must remain off when in courtrooms, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the judge presiding.

2. The following persons at other circuit court courthouse facilities, all of whom must have proper identification and be on official business in the courthouse.  Social visits and business for the purpose of addressing one’s own private, personal interests are not considered to be official business.

a. current or former judges;

b. licensed attorneys;

c. authorized employees and agents of attorneys;

d. members of the news media.  Upon approval by the Illinois Supreme Court of the Circuit Court of Cook County=s application to participate in extended media coverage, approval by the trial judge presiding, and subject to denial or limitation by the chief circuit judge, pursuant to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Policy for Extended Media Coverage in the Circuit Courts of Illinois, Ill. S. Ct., M.R. 2634 (eff. Jan. 24, 2012), members of the news media may also use their electronic devices in the courtroom to communicate with news media colleagues, provided court is not in session.

e. local, state, and federal law enforcement officers;

f. employees of any local, state, or federal government agencies and/or offices;

g.any person reporting for jury duty pursuant to summons.  Individuals selected for jury service are also subject to the order(s) of the trial judge presiding, who may make orders as to the possession or use of electronic devices by potential or sworn jurors during trial sessions and deliberations.

h. building and maintenance tradespeople, equipment repair persons, and vendors with proper authorization for whom such devices are necessary in the performance of their job;

i. Domestic violence advocates or counselors as defined by 750 ILCS 60/227(a)(2);

j. Persons who are present at the court facility to obtain orders of protection as defined in Part 22 of the Rules of the Circuit Court of Cook County or parties to a proceeding present at the courthouse to attend court proceedings related to the incident(s) underlying the order of protection or related proceedings;

k. Participants in a domestic violence assistance program, as defined and identified by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Violence Division;

l. Disabled persons, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, whose disabilities necessitate the use of an electronic device to communicate and who are permitted by the Court Disabilities Coordinator or court order to possess and use such devices in the court facility, including the courtrooms;

m. Persons required by court order or the sheriff to wear an electronic monitoring device;

n. Parties to orders of protection, as defined in Part 22 of the Rules of the Circuit Court of Cook County, who are furnished with or required to carry global positioning (GPS) devices;

o. Any other person or category of persons authorized by order of court to possess an electronic device as defined above in the court facility.

The persons described above in section 2(a-o) may use the telephone, SMS (short message service) texting, instant messaging, email, and word processing functions of a cell phone or other electronic device only in the public areas of the courthouse outside the courtrooms, and said electronic devices must remain off when in courtrooms, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the judge presiding. 

Nothing in this order should be construed to affect a judge=s authority to permit attorneys and pro se litigants with cases before the judge to use such devices in the courtroom for purposes such as making evidentiary and other presentations to the court, preparing orders and other court documents, making entries in a case management applications, or any other purpose the judge deems appropriate.

Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 63(A)(7), nothing in this order shall be interpreted to permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during sessions of the court or recesses between proceedings, or the broadcasting or televising of court proceedings unless authorized by order of the Supreme Court.

Any person in violation of this order may be subject to prosecution for contempt of court.  Nothing in this order shall be construed to infringe upon the authority of the Cook County Sheriff to deny access to any person in the interest of preserving public safety.

This order supersedes General Administrative Order 2012-08, dated December 11, 2012. Dated this 11
th day of January, 2013, effective January 14, 2013, enforcement stayed until April 15, 2013.  This order shall be spread upon the records of this court and published.

ENTERED:

Timothy C. Evans
Chief Judge
Circuit Court of Cook County