New proposal could allow phones in Michigan courts

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We’re all attached to our phones. Phones go everywhere with us. One place phones aren’t allowed? Courtrooms in Michigan.

But attorneys like Michael Nichols are the exception.

“Nobody can bring a cell phone in,” Nichols said. “But if you’re an attorney, and you can show proof that you’re an attorney, they let you bring your cell phone in.”

As it stands right now, local judges can decide whether the public can bring their phone into the courtroom.

“Right now, it’s kind of a box of chocolates,” Nichols said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get until you show up to the court house and you might see a sign that says no cell phones.”

But all of this could be changing.

“We need our phones whether it’s like documents or emergencies or whatever the case may be I should be able to have my phone in a courtroom, respectfully,” Michigan State law student Davina Bridges said.

If the proposal were to pass there would still be a few restrictions. Some being still no recordings or photography in the courtrooms.

“In Arizona, I went to court all the time,” Michigan State law student Parker Nielson said. “My dad is an attorney, so I’ve been in courtrooms a lot and we’re allowed to have our phones in there. So, and I really don’t think it made any significant difference to the proceedings at all.”

Local courts worry they could lose money if phones are allowed. People would take pictures of documents instead of paying for them.

“I’ll take a picture of my clients bond orders, once I go through it with that person,” Nichols said. “Then I’ll say, ‘You keep this I’ve got a copy.’”

But the court system is always changing.

“It’s just another way to try and improve the best imperfect system in the history of the world,” Nichols said.

The Michigan Supreme Court could vote on the proposal at anytime.

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