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Courthouse screeners enforce ban on cellphones ... and a pet duck

Posted Apr 15, 2013 1:27 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In Chicago on Monday, security guards at the criminal courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue, billed as the nation's busiest, were implementing a new policy against cellphones and other electronic devices.

The ban was imposed because of concerns that individuals taking cellphone photos were intimidating witnesses, according to the Chicago Tribune. The ban on carrying personal devices does not apply to judges, attorneys, jurors government employees and journalists.

While there are 60 storage units available, at $3 per space, for cellphone storage, officials were concerned that the demand might exceed the supply, the newspaper says. However, with luck the word about the cellphone ban may have gotten out during a three-month warning period.

Meanwhile, in Honolulu last week, alert screeners were able to put the kibosh on a more unusual breed of contraband. Motion inside a defendant's bag during an X-ray screening drew their attention to his pet duck, the Associated Press reports.

Accommodating screeners in allowed Michael Hubbard to leave his pet in their vicinity, albeit at his own—and the duck's—risk.

"We recommend people not bring their pets to court," a Department of Public Safety spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

While individuals do sometimes bring dogs to the courthouse, she noted, "A duck is unusual. I don't think we've come across that one before."

Additional coverage:

Hawaii News Now: "Defendant tries to 'duck' into Honolulu court"

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