PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New cell phone restrictions will go into effect at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia next month.
On Tuesday, officials demonstrated what visitors will encounter starting April 3.
Upon arrival, they will be required to place their cell phone in a locked pouch. Visitors can carry the pouch with them during court business, but it can only be unlocked with a special key at the security desk.
The new rules aim to crack down on courtroom disruptions and witness intimidation.
“Just the thought of witnesses being intimidated is enough for us to take action,” said Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker.
Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office Sheriff Jewell Williams said, “The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office has had several instances of fights, and melee and arguments about things that went on in the courthouse, and this is our way to prevent that from happening on the street.”
Certain court visitors will be exempt from the new rules. They include attorneys, law enforcement officers and jurors.