Cell phones allowed in Del. courthouses starting June 1
DELAWARE – Starting June 1st, members of the public will be allowed to bring cell phones and other personal electronic devices into all Delaware state courthouses.
We’re told this is an extension of a branch-wide pilot program that began in February 2022. There will still be restrictions on the use of devices of in court facilities, particularly courtrooms, but this represents a significant shift in court policy that has barred most from bringing cell phones into court.
Family Court Chief Judge Michael Newell says the pilot program that allowed personal electronic devices in a handful court facilities was a success and did not cause any significant safety or operational concerns.
According to the order, the public will be allowed to use their devices in the halls, lobbies, and other public areas of the courthouses as long as the use does not disrupt or disturb court business or proceedings. With limited exceptions, visitors will not be allowed to take photos or record audio or video in the courthouse. One exception is that visitors will be allowed to use their devices to photograph or scan public court documents in clerks’ offices as long as the device does not damage or mark the document in any way or interrupt the operations of the clerks’ office.
Use of these devices will be tightly controlled. All visitors will be required to turn off or silence their devices when inside the courtroom. If a judicial officer feels that the presence of these devices is a threat to safety or security or otherwise interferes with the administration of justice, they may require all individuals in the courtroom place their devices in a secure locking pouch until they leave the courtroom.