Here is another of what I am sure will be a continuing series about problems or inconveniences caused by the Cook County ban preventing the general public from bringing cellphones into courthouses.
Today was a busy day on my calendar. This tends to happen to attorneys in my line of practice from time to time.
Here was my schedule:
8:30 two cases in Wheaton, that were set for status and continuances were expected;
9:00 a felony case in Markham, where client was to appear before the Presiding judge in one courtroom, then be assigned to another judge in another courtroom for arraignment;
10:00 three felony cases at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th Street, two of which were in front of Judge “O” (who usually starts court at 10:15)
Since I do not have the power of teleportation or the ability to split myself into two, I had another attorney appear on my behalf in Markham at 9:00 to handle the arraignment while I planned to go to DuPage and then 26th Street.
As I pulled into the Henry Hyde Judicial Center in Wheaton, I saw that I had a message from the Assistant State’s Attorney for Judge O’s courtroom. She said that the judge was not going to be in court today, and that another judge was using his courtroom for a jury trial. If my clients could be there at 9:00, before the jury trial started, she would give my clients continuances to whatever date I wanted.
Problem 1: Trying to contact my clients, when I had reminded them last night not to bring their phones to the courthouse.
Next, I received a text from the attorney handling my case in Markham. It was 9:30 and she said my client had not arrived. The case had already been assigned, and the file was heading to the new courtroom.
Problem 2: Where was my client? I tried to call and text my client, but I did not receive a response. I later found out that he was inside the court building, and had left his phone in his car. For whatever reason, the attorney wasn’t seeing him, but she did shortly thereafter and it wasn’t much of a problem. This time.
Quite frankly, this is getting aggravating, and it has only just begun. How am I supposed to communicate with my clients and tell them where to go or where I am, if they can’t bring phones with them to the courthouse?