Clay County bans phones from courthouse, citing terrorism fears - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Clay County bans phones from courthouse, citing terrorism fears

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LIBERTY, MO (KCTV) -

Starting Aug. 1, visitors will no longer be able to bring their smartphones, cellphones, tablets and computers into the Clay County Courthouse.

County officials are banning the electronics, citing fears they can be disguised as weapons. Two iPhone covers have been disguised where they can spray Mace, or be used as brass knuckles.

Now the problem is folks texting or making calls inside the courtroom, which causes delays for judges.

Lawyers and their support staff, the courthouse support staff, probation and parole staff, law enforcement officers, judges, grand jurors, those reporting for jury service, jurors and wedding parties are exempt. 

Other electronic devices will also be banned.

"The judges of the courthouse have signed a judicial stating there be no recording devices of any type inside the courthouse," said Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Capt. Tommy St. John.

The order bans phones, laptops, tables "or other similar electronic device, capable of recording, photographing, accessing the Internet or electronically communicating."

St. Johnson said some courthouse guests have tried to record court proceedings.

"It's not that they have anything to hide, it's just there may be someone in the courtroom that doesn't want their whole story told on the Internet," he said.

Phones and recording devices should be left in vehicles because the county won't have a place to store them.

Federal courthouses already prohibit phones inside.

"This order is the result of a growing concern regarding issues such as disruptions in the courtrooms, attempted recordings of cases, unauthorized photography and weapons disguised as cell phones," a news release from the county says. "The ability (sic) stream events live on the Internet has also been a major concern."

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