Judge Fines Himself for Breaking No-Cellphone Rule
Fair is fair, even if you're the one enforcing the rules, according to a Michigan judge who fined himself $25 after his smartphone interrupted a prosecutor's closing argument.
Judge Raymond Voet has posted his policy in Ionia County District Court, letting all who enter his courtroom know that if their phones go off during proceedings, they'll be confiscated and returned only after a $25 fine has been paid.
Voet told ABCNews.com today that he has taken phones from prosecutors, defendants and police officers, but he never expected he'd ever have to enforce the policy on himself.
"I detest the distraction in the courtroom, and here it happened to me," he said.
The judge said he had his new Windows smartphone in his pocket during court on Friday but forgot to lock the touch screen, setting off the voice command function.
"The phone is saying, 'Say a command,'" Voet said.
"The prosecutor was in the middle of his closing arguments. … He lost his train of thought and looked at me. I felt my face starting to burn red," the judge said.
Voet said he turned off his phone, allowed the prosecutor to finish, and at the next recess, went and paid a $25 fine.
"I like my phones just like anyone else," he said. "But it's very distracting when a phone goes off."