Monday smiles – Judge holds himself in contempt


Caricature of Sir James Bacon (1798-1895), Commissioner of Bankruptcy for London and later Chief Judge in Bankruptcy, Vice Chancellor, Judge of the High Court, Member of the Privy Council. Caption reads “Contempt of Court”.

A Michigan judge, Raymond Voet, has been enforcing a strict policy against mobile phones in his courtroom. He stated “I can’t stand cellphones ringing or making noises”. “I’ve taken phones from lawyers, cops, witnesses, members of the public, and the media”.

However, in April, having been issued with a new phone in January, and while a prosecutor was delivering his closing arguments, Judge Voet accidentally touched a button that activated voice command. “Sorry, couldn’t hear anything. Try saying, ‘call mom’ or ‘open calendar,’ ” said a female computer voice.

After the prosecutor regained his composure and finished, an embarrassed Mr. Voet gave jurors their final instructions and apologized to the attorney. He then filled in his “Contempt of Court” form and fined himself $25. He also signed the order.

When later interviewed by the local media Judge Voet stated: “I wanted to make sure anyone who had a phone taken by me knew that I lived by the same rules.”

Credit: Wall Street Journal. The original article together with the contempt of court form can be consulted here.

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