(12/12/13) - An attempt to ban cell phones from the Saginaw County Courthouse did not work out earlier this summer, but there will be changes regarding phones and other electronic devices, starting Monday.
Many of the visitors who need to go to a courtroom will have to get a permit to bring their cell phones or tablets into the building. Law enforcement, attorneys, the media, and other professions are excluded.
"You have to make phone calls back and forth to the jails, to the defendants families," said Bruce Goetz, of Kozy Bail Bonds in Saginaw.
Goetz has been doing his job for 20 years, and these days, he needs a cell phone in the courthouse.
"I would try to get permission from a judge to be able to keep my cell phone up here because it's part of my business, a very important part of the business," Goetz said.
Goetz and others will be able to get that permission by filling out a form if they can show they need the phone for the specific reason they are going into a courtroom. The electronic devices are being limited, as people have been taking video and pictures of witnesses inside of courtrooms and out in the hall during sensitive criminal cases.
"I wouldn't be in favor of that," said Zachariah Flores.
Flores understands why the new policy is going into effect, but he thinks it goes too far.
"Leave them out of the courtroom, but why we can't we have them on the third floor, we need to call people after probation is done, after court cases are done, we need to call someone for a ride," he said.
Saginaw County officials point out that most county courthouses in the Mid-Michigan area have similar policies regarding cell phones and other electronic devices.
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