Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Tarrant County Family Courts' Rule on Electronic Devices

There's an important new rule that the Tarrant County Family Law Courts are enforcing.

Everyone entering a courtroom must make sure that all electronic devices are turned off. That includes phones, smart phones, computers, electronic readers and any other electronic devices.

The rule applies to attorneys, parties and witnesses. It also applies to the audience.

Apparently, there have been some secret recordings made of court proceedings which were then published on the Internet, which is obviously easy to to. Most likely, the recordings were intended to embarrass or harass the other party, or maybe to influence other witnesses. Also as we all know, recordings can be manipulated and distorted. There is no legitimate need to make those personal court proceedings even more public than they are.

The posting of the recordings, audio or video, in the future will have serious consequences to whoever participates in the recording or posting.

Attorneys will have to ask permission to be able to turn phones or computers back on, and they are still subject to the no-recording rule.

For good cause, which is up to the Judge to decide, a party might be able to turn a phone or computer on, but the no-recording rule remains in effect.

For what it's worth, you can still talk about what happened in court, after it's over, unless the Judge places some restrictions on the parties. Nevertheless, it would be wise to think before you speak. Whatever you say can and will be used against you!

1 comment:

Steve Fischer Attorney said...

HI Dick we have that rule in our courts too Aransas County (rockport) but its really so that phones won't go off. No one has ever addressed the issue of recording.

Next week our little county catches up to the outside world and metal detectors will be installed.

I wonder how this is going to affect my daughter's doggie who comes in the courthouse with us.