Judge holds himself in contempt for his cell phone

A Michigan judge holds himself in contempt of court and pays a $25 fine after his smartphone interrupts legal proceedings. "Judges are humans," he says. "They're not above the rules."

Raymond Voet, chief district judge in Ionia County's District Court, followed his own policy.

Michigan Judge Raymond Voet doesn't like phones interrupting court proceedings. It's fair enough; court is very serious business, and the last thing you need is someone's wacky ringtone right at the moment of sentencing. Voet, therefore, decided that offenders are liable to be held in contempt and fined, a policy that's stated in a clear sign hanging in Voet's courtroom.

So when, in the middle of court, his own phone started asking him to give it voice commands, he had no choice but to hold himself accountable.

"The prosecutor was in the middle of his closing arguments," Voet, an Ionia County 64-A District Court judge, told ABC News. "He lost his train of thought and looked at me. I felt my face starting to burn red." Voet turned off his phone and allowed the prosecutor to continue. During a break in proceedings, however, he fined himself the $25.

Voet, who used to use a BlackBerry, had just switched to a new Windows phone and was not as familiar with its operation, leaving the phone unlocked -- but, having heard many such excuses from people whose phones he has confiscated over the years, he said that he had to hold himself to the same standard.

"Judges are humans," he told the Associated Press. "They're not above the rules. I broke the rule, and I have to live by it."

(Source: Crave Australia)