Judge whose cellphone went off in court holds self in contempt

Judge Raymond Voet, presiding in Ionia County 64A District Court in Michigan, has a policy stating that any gadget that goes off during proceedings will earn the owner a contempt citation. When his own cellphone went off, he fined himself $25. "Judges are humans," Voet said. "They're not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it. [ABC News]


  1. in family court (I was there to get a divorce)
    there was a printed sign saying that:
    “if your cell phone goes off, you go to the END of the line”
    which itself is a huge punishment.
    (especially in money if there is a lawyer there for you that you are paying by the hour)

  2. His career is over.  He’s giving the masses ideas.  You can’t have the hoi polloi imagining that the “elite” are subject to the same rules as the rest of us.  Everyone has to know that the rich/powerful are more equal than the rest of us or the Oligarchy we fought so hard to build might degenerate into a Democracy. 

      1. I agree that the punishments in those cases might be a too severe.  However, these were both people actively texting and tweeting after they had been warned not to. It wasn’t just a case of a phone ringing.

        Yay, my new login works. Yahoo and Disqus haven’t been getting along, so I haven’t commented here in a couple of weeks.

      2. Punishments for contempt of court are at the discretion of the judge.  It sounds like he gives a $25 fine for cell phones going off, and he gave it to himself.  If other judges send people to jail  then that might show those judges are unreasonable, but it sounds like on this issue, everyone in the court is actually held to the same standard, including the judge.

    1. I was sitting in court one day with a friend. A lawyer was droning on about what a model citizen her client usually was, when the prosecutor jumped up and informed His Honour that it was five minutes to ten. The judge announced a recess, banged the gavel and headed out the side door.

      Everyone in the court room went outside (it seems that about ninety percent of people in the criminal justice system smoke.) After about fifteen minutes the judge saunters back from the doctor’s surgery across the road. We all proceed into the court room, the Clerk announces the recommencement of proceedings, and the lawyer gets up and picks up exactly where she was interrupted. I seem to recall her expressing her hope that His Honour was in good health.

      A few things stood out to me. This judge was not one to have his time wasted and frequently abused lawyers when their clients didn’t appear, regardless of the circumstance. So booking a doctor’s appointment for the middle of court seemed a bit hypocritical. Moreover, it was very difficult to get appointments to see that doctor and he was generally overbooked and a patient or two behind by mid-morning. 

      I’d love to know how it was the judge could get an appointment and be guaranteed it would be open for him at the scheduled time.  

    2. Oh please. Kings from Alexander the Great to Frederick the Great used the “I am not above my laws” as a propaganda shtick when it was about such little things. Made the subjects much more malleable when it came to swallowing the big stuff.

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