Tuesday, November 19, 2019

LR 83.32: Possession and Use of Electronic Devices in Federal Court Facilities

(a) Definitions

(1) "Electronic Device" means:

(A) a Personal Electronic Device;

(B) a General Purpose Computing Device; and

(C) any other device that is capable of being used for

(i) wireless communication;

(ii) receiving, creating, capturing, storing, retrieving, sending, or broadcasting any signals or any text, sound, or images;

(iii) accessing the internet or any other network or off-site system or equipment for communicating or for storing or retrieving information; or

(iv) gathering, recording, storing, receiving, transmitting, or processing data or information by electronic means.

(2) "Personal Electronic Device" includes any cellular telephone, smart phone, and any other comparable device. For purposes of this Rule, this definition excludes those devices that constitute a "General Purpose Computing Device", as defined in this Rule.

(3) "General Purpose Computing Device" includes any laptop, iPad or similar tablet device, any electronic computing device, and any other comparable device. For purposes of this Rule, this definition excludes those devices that constitute a “Personal Electronic Device,” as defined in this Rule.

(4) "Federal Court facility" includes any facility occupied by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, or any temporary facility occupied by a judicial officer of the Eastern District of Michigan, but not the United States Bankruptcy Court.

(5) "Environs" for purposes of this Rule encompass United States Courthouse properties in their entirety including all entrances to and exits from such buildings. It does not include public sidewalks outside of such properties.

(6) "Court Official" means a judicial officer, the United States Marshal and deputy marshals, court security officers, and an employee of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

(7) "Judicial Proceedings" includes proceedings before district, bankruptcy or magistrate judges, and sessions of the grand jury.

(8) "Bona fide members of the press" means a person that has obtained press credentials authorized by the court.

(b) Permitted and Prohibited Practices

(1) General Policy - Except as provided in subparagraph (2), below, Electronic Devices are not permitted in federal court facilities.

(2) Exempted Persons - Subject to subparagraph (c), below, the following persons are permitted to carry and use Electronic Devices within federal court facilities in the Eastern District of Michigan:

(A) Officers of the Court - Attorneys appearing in their official capacity as officers of the Court, and law students practicing under LR 83.21.

(B) Building tenants - Employees and visiting employees of the federal court facility.

(C) U.S. Marshal’s Service personnel - Including Court Security Officers and contract guards, only if consistent with performance standards.

(D) Other federal, state, local law enforcement - When appearing in their official capacity.

(E) GSA approved contractors - By written notice to the U.S. Marshals Service, the General Service Administration Property Manager or his designee may authorize an individual or contract group to possess a cellular telephone, laptop computer, or other wireless communication device for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing the facility, to include repair and alterations.

(F) Jurors - Grand jury members, petit jury members, and persons appearing as directed pursuant to a jury summons may carry a Personal Electronic Device, but may not use the device in any way except upon permission of a judicial officer.

(G) Judicial authority - Upon request to the court, a judicial officer may issue an order granting permission to an individual or group, such as pro se litigants, otherwise not authorized to possess and use an Electronic Device. The U.S. Marshal shall be notified of such order.

(H) Members of the Press - Bona fide members of the press who present official credentials satisfactory to the U.S. Marshal.

(3) Judicial Authority. A judicial officer may institute another policy in his or her courtroom, including requiring that attorneys store their Personal Electronic Device in chambers during Judicial Proceedings. A judicial officer located in a court facility at a duty station away from the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Michigan may make appropriate orders regulating the possession and use of Electronic Devices in the buildings in which he or she presides, but only with the consent of all judicial officers in that court facility.

(4) Chief Judge Delegated Authority. The Chief Judge may delegate authority to other court officials to grant permission to an individual or group otherwise not authorized to possess, and use an Electronic Device. The U.S. Marshal shall be notified of such permission.

(5) Co-located Court Facilities. Court facilities in the Eastern District of Michigan that are co-located with other government agencies shall be governed by this rule concerning the possession and use of Personal Electronic Devices in all court spaces, and the rules prescribed herein shall take precedence over other rules applicable elsewhere in the building.

(c) Conditions for authorized use of Personal Electronic Devices

Unless express permission to the contrary is given by the presiding judicial officer, the following conditions and restrictions apply to those individuals authorized to carry a Personal Electronic Device:

(1) While in a courtroom, Personal Electronic Devices shall be in the "off" position (i.e., completely powered down) at all times.

(2) The device may not be used and must be turned off except in designated areas of the court facility.

(3) The device cannot be initiated, "answered," or examined or manipulated (for text messaging or otherwise) while in a courtroom.

(4) The device may be used for communication by non-building tenants only in designated areas. Designated areas will be identified by each court facility by administrative order, to be posted prominently in each facility and on the court’s Internet website.

(5) The Personal Electronic Device may not be used for purposes of taking pictures or making any audio or video recording.

(6) Prospective jurors and seated jurors may bring into a Federal Court facility their Personal Electronic Device, and electronic book readers of any kind, including but not limited to Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and any type of electronic tablet reading device, but may not use the device on any way except upon permission of a judicial officer. No juror may use an electronic device to access the Internet in any Federal Court facility or its environs.

(d) Conditions for authorized use of General Purpose Computing Devices

(1) The use of personally owned General Purpose Computing Devices in the courtrooms of this district during Judicial Proceedings (except grand jury proceedings) is permitted, limited to counsel, and pro se litigants (as authorized under (b)(2)(G)) and only in support of the proceedings before the Court. The Judicial Officer may at any time limit the use of electronic devices during or before Judicial Proceedings.

(2) All devices must be set to mute before entering the courtroom. No sounds will be permitted.

(3) Taking photographs, and making video or audio recordings of any type are strictly prohibited.

(4) Internet access is not provided for personally owned devices and counsel should come prepared with all needed material loaded on the device prior to the commencement of court. A user may NOT access the Internet by any wireless means while in the courtroom.

(5) Courtroom electrical outlets may not be available for use with general purpose computing devices, and attorneys are encouraged to bring their devices to court fully charged. The electrical outlets located in attorney waiting rooms and other common space within the courthouse may be used to recharge devices as needed and as the outlets are available.

(6) Devices which distract from, interfere with or disrupt a proceeding will be removed from the courtroom.

(7) Devices which interfere with court equipment will be removed from the courtroom.

(8) No spectator or media representative will be permitted to use any electronic device inside the courtroom.

(9) Court Staff are not available to assist counsel with the use of personally owned Electronic Devices.

(10) Counsel must follow any directives issued by court personnel with regard to the use of Electronic Devices in the courtroom.

(e) Prohibited Uses

(1) Except as allowed by this section, no Electronic Device may be used in a Federal Court facility to record sounds or images.

(2) Taking photographs or video recordings in connection with any Judicial Proceeding (including any participants in a Judicial Proceeding while they are in a courtroom or its environs), and the recording or broadcasting of Judicial Proceedings by radio or television or other means is prohibited.

(3) A judicial officer may authorize the use of electronic or photographic means for the presentation of evidence or for the perpetuation of the record. The judicial officer will provide by written notice to the United States Marshal that such permission has been granted.

(4)A district judge or magistrate judge may authorize:

(A) The broadcasting, televising, recording or photographing of investiture, ceremonial, or naturalization proceedings; and

(B) The radio or television broadcasting, audio or video recording or photographing of court proceedings, but only pursuant to, a resolution of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The judicial officer will provide by written notice to the United States Marshal that such permission has been granted.

(5) The General Service Administration (GSA) Property Manager or his designee can authorize an individual or contract group to possess a camera or recording device for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing the facility, to include repair and alterations. The GSA Property Manager must provide by written notice to the United States Marshal that such permission has been granted.

(f) Enforcement. The United States Marshal, his deputies, and court security officers may demand from any individual in possession of a cellular telephone or wireless communication device, to produce identification in aid of enforcement of this rule, and if the identification does not satisfy the officer that the person in possession of the device is authorized in accordance with the terms of this rule, the officer may refuse admittance to this person or confiscate the device or both.

(g) Violations.

(1) Attorney Discipline. An attorney violating this rule may be subject to discipline, including debarment, in accordance with Local Rule 83.22.

(2) Confiscation. A violation of this rule, including without limitation unauthorized possession of an Electronic Device, use of a Personal Electronic Device in an unauthorized space, possession of an Electronic Device in an audible mode, and failing to turn off an Electronic Device when required, may result in immediate confiscation of the electronic device. Any judicial officer may order confiscation of an Electronic Device. Any United States Marshal, Deputy Marshal, or court security officer may also confiscate an Electronic Device.

(3) Contempt of Court. A violation of this rule may be punished as criminal contempt of court. A violation that disrupts a judicial proceeding may be punished by summary proceedings.

(4) Relief from Confiscation of an Electronic Device. A person whose Electronic Device has been confiscated may apply in writing within twenty-eight (28) days after confiscation for return of the Electronic Device. The application shall be made to the judicial officer whose proceedings were disturbed by the violation, or, if there is no such judicial officer, to the chief judge. The judicial officer may grant or refuse the request. If the judicial officer determines that no violation of this rule occurred, he or she shall order the Electronic Device returned. If a violation has occurred and the request for return is granted, the judicial officer shall assess an appropriate monetary payment as a condition of returning the Electronic Device. Confiscated Electronic Devices that are not returned, either because no request has been made within the time provided or the request for return has been denied, shall be disposed of in a manner directed by the chief judge.

(5) Consent to Provisions. Any person bringing into a Federal Court facility of its environs an Electronic Device shall be determined to have consented to the provisions of this rule.

(h) Suspension or Modification of This Rule During Heightened Security. The privileges conferred by this Rule shall be subject to suspension or modification without notice in the event that the U. S. Marshal’s Service, the Court, or other federal agency declares a need for a heightened level of security at the courthouse.

March 1, 2018