Roanoke Valley lawyers used to reminding clients to turn off their cellphones when they go to court soon will have to tell the clients to leave the phones at home.
A new policy for the 23rd Circuit (Roanoke City, Roanoke County and Salem) bars possession and use of electronic devices for the general public. The previous standing order required only that cellphones be turned off in and near courtrooms.
Chief Judge William Broadhurst said enforcement of the new no-cellphone order will begin Nov. 1 to allow for signs to advise the public.
The language of the order has been expanded to cover cameras and text capabilities as well as voice communication. “It takes care of just about anything we can think of that can transmit information out of the courthouse,” Broadhurst said.
Lawyers are excepted from the rule, but using an electronic device in a courtroom still is forbidden without express permission.
By Peter Vieth