iPhone in the Courthouse: UPDATE

lilnyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
518
0
I have to go to court this month, and I don't want to be told at checkpoint that I have to leave my iPhone behind. I have lost a voice recorder that way, and they never returned it. I have a feeling also that if I left it with security, they'd be playing with it.

I got through with my Cingular 8525 before, and it had both a camera and video camera. This question is somewhat rhetorical as I can call and ask, but the person on the phone and in-person security may have different answers. What do you think would happen?

I went to court with my iPhone. See the later post for details
 

rockstarjoe

macrumors 6502a
Jun 2, 2006
850
54
washington dc
I work in and out of courthouses. You are best leaving your phone in the car. Even if you can bring it in, turn it off. If your phone rings or makes a sound in the courtroom you will be in trouble with the judge!
 

badtzmaru

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2007
472
2
i frequent the federal courthouse in DC and unless you are a member of the bar or are on jury duty you cant bring in your phone if it has a camera.

the courthouse has small lockers so i put my iphone in there safely since they give you a key. otherwise I would leave it at home.
 

lilnyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
518
0
Thanks, everyone. I don't have a car (NYC gal here), so it looks like I better leave it at home. That sucks b/c I won't have the time, and I'll be bored as heck for hours. But oh well.

Isn't it odd though that I was allowed to take in my other phone with a video and still camera?? I guess it wasn't as popular, so they didn't know? I wonder...

Yea leave it in the car. No point in taking a cell phone to a place you can't even use it.
There's hours of down time, that's why :)
 

lilnyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
518
0
Call the courthouse.

Forums are not the place to get a definitive answer ;)
True. I'm going to call, but I'm just curious about what people think. I also wanted to open the prospect to discussion as it may be informative for others, or others may share their experience(s) because this topic hasn't been raised before.

But as I mentioned earlier, the person I speak to, and the security officer at the checkpoint may have two different answers. You know, "Well they told me that I could.." "I don't know what they told you but..." etc. What I may do is find out exactly what the policy is, and get the person's name.
 

oogje

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2002
221
1
nyc
Depending on how much trouble it is to get there and back and what time you have to be there, maybe go early enough so if they don't let you pass with the phone you can take it home and return.

Maybe meet a friend there and hand it off if you can't get through security with it.

Wear it with the earbuds, playing music and take it off as you go through security so it appears as an iPod.

Go down a day or two early and see what the situation is. Maybe talk to the security people if they're receptive.
 

nbs2

macrumors 68030
Mar 31, 2004
2,713
485
A geographical oddity
Wear it with the earbuds, playing music and take it off as you go through security so it appears as an iPod.
That also will not work in many places. The state courthouses in Baltimore prohibit music devices. If you are ever going to take one of those devices in, your best be is to hope that they don't catch on that it is an iPod/iPhone and that you can pull off calling it a PDA. The other option is take a side entrance (if possible), especially if you are going to the courthouse for several days/weeks. Become friends with the security guy - within a couple of days you should be friendly enough that he'll let it slide even if it's on the no list. But, as mentioned above, one peep in a Courtroom and you may have donated an iPhone to the government.
 

oogje

macrumors regular
Jun 4, 2002
221
1
nyc
Clearly, it depends on the court and the purpose of the visit. The US District Court for the Southern District of NY doesn't appear to prohibit music devices. But it lists the following with respect to jury duty.

"Cellular telephones, blackberries, tape recorders and cameras are prohibited inside the courthouse and will be checked at the door. Computers, and beepers set on silent mode are permitted. Public telephones are available throughout the courthouse."
 

joseftu

macrumors member
Jul 6, 2007
31
0
My wife brought her iPhone to jury duty here in Brooklyn last week. No problems (except that everyone wanted to see it!).

But maybe your role is different than prospective juror.
 

matznentosh

macrumors regular
Apr 11, 2002
144
0
Thanks, everyone. I don't have a car (NYC gal here), so it looks like I better leave it at home. That sucks b/c I won't have the time, and I'll be bored as heck for hours. But oh well.

Isn't it odd though that I was allowed to take in my other phone with a video and still camera?? I guess it wasn't as popular, so they didn't know? I wonder...

If you are doing jury duty or going to the court house in NYC I can say positively that cell phones with cameras are not allowed. Did jury duty about a year ago, they wouldn't let me bring my Treo in.
 

DotComCTO

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2006
305
36
I served on jury duty in Westchester, NY about a year ago. They checked all devices at the metal detector. All phones with cameras were taken and retained by the court officers. My Blackberry was OK because it didn't have a camera. I had it on silent mode and all was fine. Once I was picked for a jury, the Blackberry had to stay in the jury room.

--DotComCTO
 

DiamondMac

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2006
3,299
16
Washington, D.C.
I am at a Courthouse almost every day and find that they don't take cell-phones BUT obviously others do....so, if you think they will...leave it in the car.

But if you aren't sure, I would say try to bring it in IF YOU REALLY NEED IT.
 

Subiklim

macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2006
288
0
Manhattan, New York
Thanks, everyone. I don't have a car (NYC gal here), so it looks like I better leave it at home. That sucks b/c I won't have the time, and I'll be bored as heck for hours. But oh well.

Isn't it odd though that I was allowed to take in my other phone with a video and still camera?? I guess it wasn't as popular, so they didn't know? I wonder...
Which court? And what are you doing there? I'm in and out of the many of the courts in Manhattan weekly, and while camera phones aren't allowed, they've never taken my iPhone.

They used to always take my phones. However, in the past few months, they haven't been. Being an attorney helps too.

If you're going to the criminal court, I'd leave it at home.
 

DiamondMac

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2006
3,299
16
Washington, D.C.
Which court? And what are you doing there? I'm in and out of the many of the courts in Manhattan weekly, and while camera phones aren't allowed, they've never taken my iPhone.

They used to always take my phones. However, in the past few months, they haven't been. Being an attorney helps too.

If you're going to the criminal court, I'd leave it at home.
Down here, all attorney's can bring their cell-phones into Criminal District Court.

Others can not though
 

Goldenbear

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2007
226
3
Los Angeles
...beepers set on silent mode are permitted...
Be very careful with pagers. A few years back, I had a pager that would turn on with a nice, loud beep if any button was pushed. Well, I somehow managed to press the pager against the side of my seat. :eek:

The Judge was not amused, although she let me keep the pager after I explained what happened. I also took the battery out just to be safe.
 

dale.albiston

macrumors member
Sep 29, 2006
61
0
(uk)

been in a court a few times (divorce), to start with they wanted ALL phones checked in, this relaxed to camera phones, which they WILL find at the security sweep, other phones had to be off in te court rooms but were fine in the corridors.

this appears to have now changed to any phone is ok, but off in the court rooms themselves. there are signs about no photographs, apparently its an offense of some sort, probably some sort of 'security' offense, along with everything else these days.

I guess when a phone with a camera was a novelty taking them off you worked, but now just about everyone has one its probably too much hassle for them to bother with. plus I dare say it was pointed out that if they took your phone.. hey had some liability to give it back...
 

lilnyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
518
0
Which court? And what are you doing there? I'm in and out of the many of the courts in Manhattan weekly, and while camera phones aren't allowed, they've never taken my iPhone.

They used to always take my phones. However, in the past few months, they haven't been. Being an attorney helps too.

If you're going to the criminal court, I'd leave it at home.
I think it's small claims court on Centre Street -- not sure. My former roommate and I are at war :)

I'm just amazed that I was never stopped with my Cingular 8525 complete with a camera and video camera. That's why I don't see why an iPhone would be an issue except that it's popular and most people know that it has a camera.

I live in Midtown, so I don't see myself heading to court just to ask. I may either take a chance and have a lockable safe with me (seriously --- a small one) or buy a cheap watch for the day and take a book :( But as someone suggested, I will call anyway. I just want to know what the policy is. Your info is helpful as a New Yorker.

Be very careful with pagers. A few years back, I had a pager that would turn on with a nice, loud beep if any button was pushed. Well, I somehow managed to press the pager against the side of my seat. :eek:

The Judge was not amused, although she let me keep the pager after I explained what happened. I also took the battery out just to be safe.
Remember when pagers were the novelty gadgets? If you had a pager, you were a doctor or a drug dealer...remember? I always longed for the nicest pager back in the day. Oh boy, I'm old.
 

lilnyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
518
0
Glove box it goes.
No car :)

As the time gets closer (July 26), I'll put in the official phone call to find out. But I think I've aready made up my mind to keep it at home. Either way, I'll report back to let everyone know what answers I received and/or what happened.
 

SheepNutz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 1, 2007
668
1
Kantuckee
As a forensic chemist, I find myself going in and out of jails and courthouses from time to time. Today, I went into a jail that I go to every month, no big deal, just sign in and do what I gotta do. Today, I go to sign in, and the guard tells me that they have to lock my phones and car keys in their lockbox. I was so nervous. Not only was I worried about them just chucking it in there with other crap, but about a dozen inmates were in there, just staring it down. Needless to say, I'll be leaving it in the car next time.
 

lilnyc

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 5, 2007
518
0
My iPhone was Permitted Into Court!

**UPDATE**

I am in the Civil Court of the city of NY WITH my iPhone! Yep.

I called first, and the lady on the phone said they'd have to hold it because it has a camera. So i bought a cash box with a lock from Office Depot, prepared to lock up my iPhone.

To my pleasant surprise, when I got to the security check, they let me in without question (iPhone AND MBP). Their concern was that I didn't have "recording devices."

So I don't know what the rules are elsewhere, but here in NYC at this particular court, small claims at Centre Street, I am able to keep my iPhone with me.

The wait is nothing now. If I can stand in line for an iPhone, I can certainly hang out and surf the web in court :p