Jury Duty and cell phones

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ted Todorov, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    I have Jury Duty in Manhattan Federal Court (US District Court) starting tomorrow, and one thing bother the heck out of me -- a big thing on the notice says:



    Are they serious? This bugs me so much, not because I want to be chattering on the phone in the waiting room, but because I want to have my phone the moment I leave the building to call work, get messages, etc.

    Why must they make the lives of people who are doing their bit miserable?? No wonder so many people I know are dodging jury duty.
    Anyway, I'd love to hear from anyone who has recent experience with the cell phones/jury duty/federal court.

    Ted
     
  2. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    Can you just bring it, but have it turned "off" while in the building? What are you supposed to do if you're just going into the courthouse from the street (without getting the notice, maybe not for jury duty); go home and drop it off? I bet they'd let you have it in your pocket, turned "off, while you're sitting around in the jury room doing your solemn American duty with a bunch of your peers and best friends.

    MC
     
  3. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Since any type of recorder is against the law in a courtroom, they are probably making sure that no one uses them in an illegal manner. How about leaving it in your car? Yeah, it sucks, but hopefully you should be able to get to your car quick enough.

    Of course, the other thing is to turn it completely off and hope they don't catch you with it. I'm sure they won't confiscate it, but you never know.
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    We were allowed to possess cell phones when I had jury duty last year, they just had to be off in the courtroom. The security guard turned each one on to make sure they were actual cell phones, but that was it.

    Of course, we didn't have the rule you were given. In that case, the car might be your best bet. Otherwise, you may be sent back to your car at the security check or even rescheduled for another day.
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    The rule predates the advent of cellphones with multiple functions (although the fact that most phones now have cameras and recording functions makes it even less likely that the rule will be relaxed or abolished).

    As for the reason the rule was originally imposed, the court has never given one. I suspect that the judges simply don't want the intrusion. And while Ted may be well-behaved, experience demonstrates that when you get a crowd of cellphone users together, there will always be at least a couple of idiots who have no sense of boundaries or propriety.

    M.
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    LOL - considering all of the "Cell Phone Users SUCK!" threads, I don't think you have to tell us the vast amounts of 'idiots' that use them. [​IMG]

    It does suck that the irresponsible people are the ones that cause the most inconvenience to those who are responsible. I mean, I've heard cell phones going off at funeral homes. I mean, are people just that stupid???



    Answer: YES! [​IMG]

    and yes, I can totally see a juror talking to someone on the phone while court is in session.
     
  7. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Slightly off topic but related. Yesterday I was in the passport line at Dulles airport returning from an overseas trip. There were signs everywhere stating that cell phones were not to be used. There was a sign at every inspection station with a red circle and line through a cell phone. An inspector saw people using their phones and started to confiscate them. Folks asked "when are we going to get them back" and the ICE agent said "never". The agent then turned them off and then returned them. Needless to say, a lot of phones were then turned off. I do wonder as to why cells phones were banned from the passport area. How is the U.S. safer?
     
  8. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Thanks, Michael for the exact info! So long as check in is an option, that's not too bad. I wonder how they react to other electronic devices (iPods being the most obvious).


    Well, at least I got a good laugh out of this thread. I can picture the spacious parking lot next to the courthouse on Pearl street right now [​IMG] FWIW, like most people living in Manhattan I don't own a car, and even if I did, driving downtown would not be an option. So long as there is no transit strike, the subway ride downtown is quick and painless.

    About the cell phone ban at customs -- another only in America thing. In continental Europe, people start jabbering on their cell phones the moment the plane stops. I have no idea what the thinking behind the US ban is.

    Ted

    P.S. My jury duty got postponed until April -- which is a drag, I was hoping to just get it over with. I hope the aren't allowed to do that multiple times before excusing you altogether.
     
  9. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Because they can be used for real time surveillance of the entry point to the US. If you were trying to sneak something past the ICE agents or performing some other nefarious deed, wouldn't you put a lookout equipped with a cellphone at the entry point to relay you the weaknesses/layout/protocol?
     
  10. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    Why can't you just use a pay phone to check messages?

    I really see this as much ado about nothing.
     
  11. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    There was a day and age, not that long ago, when we functioned just fine without cell phones at all. I think a few hours away from one can be endured without too much pain.
     
  12. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Can they not also be rigged to function as a trigger for an explosive device. We've all heard of someone calling a cellphone in order to detonate a bomb. I think there was some early speculation that that might have happened at that recent OU game. I don't know if this is a consideration for the banning of cellphones at entry points or not, though.
     
  13. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Last year I had to serve on a jury and we were allowed to have them but turn them off. I don't think they would care if you do that. Then use it when you are on break or elsewhere.
     
  14. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    please don't force us to imagine such a horrible, horrible time.

    CJ
     
  15. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    I served on a jury in Orlando, back in 2001, and during the testimony, the witness (testifying against the defendant) on the stand took a call from her kids. The judge took it surprisingly well- I wanted to reign blows down on her.[​IMG]
     
  16. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    if she was on trial for being rude, you could have hung her out to dry!

    CJ
     
  17. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    What if you don't have a car? When I moved to Boston, I left the car in Albany because I couldn't afford to park it, and it would be a huge pain in the ass to drive it around Boston. I imagine it's similar in Manhattan.
     
  18. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Interesting. No such requirement here in Singapore, just that whilst in a hearing your phone should of course be switched off. Ironically, they're pretty gung-ho about checking in cameras, yet they let phones with cameras slide. Perhaps the resolution isn't high enough to worry about covert surveillance photos for nefarious purposes? Then what about the day that spanking new 3G phone has a 5 megapixel built-in camera? Although I understand with military bases, phones with cameras are barred.
     

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