Cell phone ban coming to new Baton Rouge courthouse

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Changes are coming to the new courthouse in Baton Rouge and if you're going to be going there, you need to heed the warning.

After a lengthy meeting Wednesday, the judges voted to restrict the use of cell phones in the court house.

The use of electronic devices has been banned by judges in the 19th Judicial District Court. The judges began discussions after the Torrance "Lil Boosie" Hatch trial. During that trial, fans of Boosie tweeted about the events that were going on inside the courtroom.

The judge in that trial banned cell phones from the courtroom. Wednesday's vote restricts cell phones and makes it a local rule.

"The judges worked real hard today to tackle a real difficult issue and I commend them on that. We have had significant problems with cell phones and taking pictures of witnesses. The court room itself then putting it in a text, tweet, or Facebook has cause us some problems in the judges recognize that could be dangerous," said District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Currently, cell phones are allowed in District Court; that is not the case in City Court or Federal Court. There are some exemptions. Attorneys, active law enforcem3ent, investigators, media and employees with the 19th Judicial District Court will be allowed to have cell phones. However, the ban applies to paralegals and runners for attorneys.

"Generally, it's the general public that comes to the court that will have restrictions on the phones," said Moore.

The cell phone ban of the 19th Judicial District Court will go into effect March 15, 2013.

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