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Smartphones and electronic devices no longer welcome in Judicial Center starting Monday

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Smartphones and electronic devices no longer welcome in Judicial Center starting Monday
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

You’ll have to keep your smartphones and all your electronic devices in your vehicle or leave it at home when you visit the Crow Wing County Judicial Center Building in Brainerd.

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Starting Monday, all cellphones, smartphones and any electronic device, will not be allowed inside the building.

Sgt. Scott Goddard of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office said the sheriff’s office is in charge of security at the judicial center and electronic devices have caused security issues in the court rooms.

Goddard said currently, people are able to take their cellphones or smartphones into the building, they just have to turn them off while in the court rooms. Goddard said people have not followed that rule and have been caught using their phones to audio- or videotape court proceedings or taking photographs. That cannot happen, the deputy said. Goddard said the court proceedings need to be protected and the only way to do that is to eliminate the electronic devices in the building.

Goddard said cellphones have also disturbed court proceedings when people forget to turn them off. He said people also are texting while in court and they shouldn’t be.

“I’m sure there are more cases on people using their phones in the court room, but we can’t catch them all,” said Goddard. “The only way to protect the court proceedings is to not allow the devices in the building.”

The rule of banning the electronic devices applies only to the visiting public, said Goddard. Goddard said the judges, attorneys and county employees employed at the Judicial Center may have their cellphones, smartphones and electronic devices with them.

“We’ve not had any issues with them (judges, attorneys and county employees) using their phones when they shouldn’t,” said Goddard. “The only issues we’ve seen has been with the visiting public.”

Goddard said the sheriff’s office will however make exceptions, on a case by case basis, on allowing the public the opportunity to bring in their electronic devices. For instance, people who are getting married in the judicial center or who are using the adoption services could be allowed to bring in their devices, such as a camera.

Goddard said judicial center staff who greet people in and out of the building will not be able to store people’s electronic devices for them at the front counter. Goddard said the building doesn’t have enough storage capabilities.

“The electronic devices will be treated like any other item that is not allowed in the building,” said Goddard.

Items that have already been prohibited from the Judicial Center include, weapons of any type, food, liquids, wallet chains and other items deemed to be a security hazard. Electronic devices include the iPads, iPods, Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7.

Goddard said other judicial centers in the Ninth Judicial District have varying rules with some allowing cellphones, smartphones and electronic devices and some not.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5851. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl.

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Jennifer Stockinger
(218) 855-5851
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