At the August 23, 2016, 13th Circuit Court en Banc meeting, the court amended Local Court Rule 9.6 Electronic Devices, to prohibit the public from bringing cellular phones into the Boone County Courthouse, and into the Callaway County Courtrooms. This policy will go into effect on Monday, October 24, 2016.
This amendment has been discussed by the Court en Banc since its May meeting, though the Court Marshal office has made the request in the past.
The change was proposed and considered in light of local and national concerns with security. This policy is not unique to the 13th Circuit. At least 14 other state courts in Missouri have the same or more restrictive policy, and the public are not allowed to bring their phones into the Supreme Court of Missouri; the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District; and some federal courthouses.
The amendment passed unanimously by the Court en Banc states that no one is allowed to bring a cell phone into the Boone Courthouse or a Callaway courtroom with exceptions for work related duties. Callaway was limited to the courtrooms only, as it is a multi-function building. Work related exceptions include attorneys, law enforcement on official duty, and the media; but only attorneys may use their phones in the courtroom. An important caveat to the list is in section 6 which allows “Any other person the court may authorize.”
The amendment includes the following new language:
A. No persons are allowed to bring cellular telephones into the Boone County Courthouse, or the Callaway County Courtrooms with the following exceptions:
1. Attorneys in good standing.
2. State and county employees on court business.
3. Law enforcement personnel and Probation and Parole Officers on official duty.
4. Victims/witnesses who are attending court business in the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the Juvenile Office.
5. Members of the press.
6. Any other person the court may authorize.
Any person in the categories above may be required to provide identification to confirm their status upon the request of the Court Marshals. Persons allowed to bring cellular phones into the Boone County Courthouse are not allowed to use them in the courtrooms.
Attorneys are allowed to bring cellular phones into the courtrooms and are requested to restrict use of their cellular phones in the courtrooms to business only.