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Cell Phones Are Banned from Criminal Courts

    No Cell Phones

    CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County's chief judge has banned cell phones and other electronic devices from all courthouses — except the Richard J. Daley Center downtown.

    Chief Judge Evans' order takes effect in January and only affects facilities where criminal matters are heard.

    Evans says judges complained that people were using their cell phones to photograph witnesses, judges and jurors. He says judges also believed some people were texting testimony to witnesses outside the courtroom who were waiting to testify.

    All electronic devices capable of connecting to the Internet or making audio or video recordings, including laptops and tablet computers, are banned.

    Evans says the court is sending "a strong message" to gang members and others that intimidation won't be tolerated.

    Phones are permitted in Daley Center public areas, but not in courtrooms.

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