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County clerks: We’ll lose money if people can have phones in courthouses

The Associated Press

Lansing. – Court clerks around Michigan are criticizing a proposal to allow phones and other electronic devices in courthouses.

Among their objections: They fear they’ll lose money.

The Michigan Supreme Court is holding a public hearing Wednesday in Lansing.

Courts typically charge people to make copies of public documents. Someone with an electronic device could do it for free. For example, Mason County charges $1 per page. Clerk Cheryl Kelly says the proposed rule “would put a dent in our revenue.”

Besides copying documents, the rule would allow people to use an electronic device to take notes, search the internet and send or receive text messages in a courtroom.

Lawyers, who typically can carry phones, are in favor of the change, especially if it helps them stay in touch with clients in a courthouse.

Courthouses prohibiting cellphones include Third Circuit Court of Michigan and 36th District Court in Detroit.