The Southern District has amended its policies on attorneys bringing cellphones and electronic devices such as computer laptops or tablets into the courthouse.
The new policy allows members of the bar of any court who has written permission from the presiding judge to bring in cellphones and computing devices, subject to security screening.
Attorneys who have a New York State Office of Court Ad-ministration secure pass must still apply for the SDNY secure pass in order to bring cell phones into the courthouse.
But for those attorneys who want to bring in laptops or tablets, a written order of the presiding judge is still required, although attorneys who want to bring three or more devices into a courtroom no longer have to obtain the approval of the district’s technology committee.
The change is intended to bring consistency to a system whereby judges had to sign special orders for attorneys to bring in devices for trials and other proceedings, but procedures varied.
Remaining in place are a series of restrictions on the use of devices inside the courthouse, including that attorneys are still required to turn off all sound emitting capabilities like ringtones or vibrating sounds when they are in the courtroom and at no time are allowed to use any device to record sound or images in the courthouse and its environs.
The standard form for applying to an individual judge is available at www.nysd.uscourts.gov/forms.php. Information on obtaining pass is on the court’s website at http://nysd.uscourts.gov/file/forms/attorney-service-pass-application