I was not aware of this but apparently the use of all electronic devices is banned in federal courts. Maurtez Prince, 22, of Cleveland, learned this the hard way when he was sentenced to 30 days in jail for contempt for tweeting and taking photographs of a friend of his during the latter’s sentencing hearing in the U.S. District Courthouse in Akron.
Apparently there are signs warning people that the use of electronic devices is forbidden but Prince said he had not seen them. An assistant US marshall saw him tweeting and warned him to turn it off but he persisted, saying that he thought that all he had to do was turn off the volume, which is why he was held in contempt.
The sentencing seems unduly harsh to me for what is a stupid but not malicious or even overly disruptive act. As Assistant Federal Public Defender Edward Bryan said, “Mr. Prince was very apologetic to the judge and the marshal for what he did. He wasn’t cocky at all. It was his first time in federal court and he didn’t understand the seriousness of his actions.”
My guess is that Prince is poor, as evidenced by the fact that he had a public defender. My guess is that if the child of a rich person had done this, he would not have gone to jail but have been taught a lesson by making him do community service.