A Michigan judge has held himself in contempt of court and paid a US$25 fine after his smartphone interrupted court proceedings.
Judge Raymond Voet.
(Credit: Michigan Live)
Michigan Judge Raymond Voet of Ionia County 64A District Court 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 is stated in a clear sign hanging in Voet's court room.
So when his own phone started asking him in the middle of court 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 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 US$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 AP. "They're not above the rules. I broke the rule, and I have to live by it."