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Confusion Over Start Of Cell Phone Ban At Cook County Courthouses

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Cell Phone (Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Cell Phone (Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

miller250 Steve Miller
Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – There were reports of confusion Monday over Cook County’s new policy barring cell phones from most courthouses.

Monday was supposed to be the beginning of the no-cell phone policy, but on Friday the chief judge’s office said there would be a three-month grace period. Thus, perhaps, the confusion.

Attorney Larry Necheles said it has affected his clients at Branch 35 and 38, located at 111th Street and Ellis Avenue, where he said there was no grace period – and the cell phone ban was actually being enforced.

“And folks were told not to bring their cell phones, so they either had to go home or back to their car,” Necheles said. “And several people who returned home with cell phones and then came back to court were told that they were late or that the judge was no longer on the bench.”

The chief judge’s office couldn’t confirm the enforcement at the courthouse at 111th and Ellis.

Neither could sheriff’s spokesman Frank Bilecki.

But Bilecki acknowledged the confusion over the late change from declaring a ban to declaring a grace period.

“The onus falls on the chief judge as far as notifying the public and putting out a public awareness campaign over the weekend about the change,” Bilecki said.

There’s no official confirmation the ban is already being enforced.

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