Which Part of “Public” Don’t They Understand?

The headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reads “Cellphones increasingly a problem for courts across St. Louis region.”

Courts generally ban picture taking, except to allow some limited news media photography on a case-by-case basis. St. Louis courts also once banned cellphones with cameras, when those were uncommon, but relented when it became almost impossible to find a phone without a camera.

Recent incidents in St. Louis and elsewhere have some judges rethinking whether to ban cellphones from courtrooms and even courthouses.

“It’s a national problem,” said St. Louis Circuit Judge David Mason in a recent interview. “Judges across the country are coming down on this.”

“It’s hard for me to understand how people would think there was no problem,” the judge said. He emphasized that in any event, courthouse rules and culture will not yield.


Whatever happened to “speedy public trial” and “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear?”

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