Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ban on Electronic Devices in New York?

New York Lawyer reported on July 22 that local attorneys are protesting interim rules that severely limit their ability to bring laptops, cellphones, and other electronic devices into the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse located in lower Manhattan. The rules, which are linked to from the article, require an attorney to get a court order to bring specific devices into the courtrooms. At a hearing held yesterday, attorneys aired their objections to the interim rules and also attempted "to fend off proposed stricter permanent rules on the use of the devices, which one lawywer called 'an essential part of modern life.'" Underlying the interim rules are two concerns on the part of the judges: 1.) the possibility of a laptop or other device concealing an explosive; and 2.) the possibility of someone using an electronic device to televise or transmit proceedings live from a courtroom. The second concern was raised on June 29 at the sentencing of Bernard L. Madoff when a woman tried to record the proceedings. The device was seized, and the woman issued a summons. The judges are also concerned that witnesses or jurors could be photographed, potentially jeopardizing their safety. The court is "accepting written comments [on electronic devices in the courtroom] until July 31 ..." Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Marie S. Newman said...

Here's an update from the New York Lawyer on the hearing held last Thursday: The new rule will be announced in October.