Judge fined for using smartphone in court... by himself

A judge in Michigan, US, has fined himself for contempt of court because his own phone disturbed a prosecutor's closing argument.

Judge Raymond Voet has a posted policy at Ionia County 64A District Court that says electronic devices causing a disturbance during a court session will see their owner cited for contempt. As his own smartphone suddenly started asking for voice commands during a trial, he was in the position where he had to impose a fine of $25 (£16) on himself.

In the UK, the Daily Telegraph reports, the rules are different. The Lord Chief Justice ruled that digital equipment can be used in the country's court rooms, as long as they are done so quietly.

Even Twitter can be used while in the court room today, but only with the permission of the sitting judge. Some cases could be put in jeopardy if every detail was released on Twitter, Facebook or a blog, including the possible safety of witnesses.

Pic: (cc) Shawn Calhoun