Deputy Doolittle Has a Lot to Say About Nothing

“OK, I’m going to start giving you my spiel now. This is a courtroom, and you need to act appropriately. What does that mean? Well, I’ll tell you. First thing is that you need to turn off any devices that make sounds. Now I don’t mean you need to turn down the volume of the device; I mean you need to turn it off. Why is that? Well, I’ll tell you. You may think it’s enough to turn down that flippety thing on the side, but it’s not. What you need to do is find the off switch and hold it down until the thing is turned completely off. Not on and in sleep mode. That’s not what I mean. I mean off. So that if you press a button on the device, nothing happens. It doesn’t wake up and make a sound. It is off and it’s not just asleep.

Now why is that? Well, I’ll tell you. You know how vast the internet it, right? You may be surfing the internet and you may run into a video game or something and download it. Or your kid may do that and you don’t even know about it. Well, that video game may be on a different system than the rest of your phone. Every time you download something like that, you are entering into a contract with a company. And do you take the time to read the contract? No, of course not. So you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. You come to court and you think you have a handle on your phone, so you think it’s enough to turn down your volume. But then this company has your phone number and all your information and then all of a sudden you hear the game playing from your phone because you are in a contract that allows them to do that.

That’s what happened to one of our attorneys here. She was in court and all of a sudden from her bag we hear an ESPN game start playing – and I’m talking a 30-year seasoned attorney. Was she embarrassed? Yes, she was. But worse, we are legally obligated to take her phone away from her. To confiscate it. I mean, she had all her contacts in that phone – everything. She was going to lose everything. So we worked out a deal with her and allowed her to take the phone home that night and back it up, but then she had to bring the phone in the next day and turn it over to us. That’s our legal obligation. To confiscate that phone. That’s why I’m telling you to turn your phones completely off. If I hear it, I will have to take it away from you.

Now, let me talk to you about alarm clocks. You may have an alarm clock on a device. You may have a night shift job like I used to. I used to work all night and then have to wake myself up in the afternoon in order to pick up my kids from school. That’s when I worked at a factory. Some of you may have the same type of thing going on. You have to work all night and then wake up in the afternoon to take your kids or grandkids somewhere, so you may have an alarm set. Before you shut off your phones, I need you to open them and look at your calendars and alarm clocks and make sure they’re shut off between now and 5pm. Because these things send out a jingle. And they work on different systems then the rest of your phone. You’d have to go under settings and look for each item – calendar and alarm clock – and turn them off. That’s how that works, unless it’s changed.

Next up is smarty phones. We all love them, yes I know. But they call them smarty phones, because they are trying to outsmart us. We think we know how to control them, but really they are constantly surprising us and fooling us. You may think, I’m going just check my tecks (sic) every once in a while, but guess what. Sometimes someone will send you a teck and you think you have turned your ringer off so that’s OK, but then you hear a sound. That’s because you may make a special jingle for a special person. That’s nice, you have a special person and you want to know that it’s them that’s tecksing you. But that’s on a different system. So when you turn your ringer off, that special person sends you a teck and you still hear the jingle.

OK, next up is video games. You may love to play Tetris and that, but that’s not appropriate for the courtroom. You need to act appropriately while in the courtroom. You may think you can sit there and play video games and no one will notice, but I can see the blue lighting up your face and also I can see the look on your face and I can tell if that you’re playing video games. I got really good at this because I have kids. So don’t think you can sit there and play video games because that’s not appropriate for the courtroom.

There are five signs posted that you have passed by on your way here today that have all said pagers and cellphones may not be used. One at the front door, one in the elevator, two in the hallway from the elevator to this courtroom, and one here on the wall next to me.

I don’t want to confiscate your phone or pager or whatever device you have that makes sound, but I am legally obligated to do it, if it makes a sound. So I strongly suggest you don’t use the flippity thing that controls the volume, but that you use the off switch and you turn the device completely off.

OK next! Food and drink is not allowed in the courtroom. We have nice carpet here, as you can see, and nice upholstered chairs instead of those vinyl covered ones, so we don’t want any food or drink spilled in the courtroom.

The next thing I want to tell you about appropriate courtroom behavior is gum. You may be nervous and want to chew gum to relieve some stress, and I’m going to tell you this: chew it now. I mean it. Chew it now. But as soon as the judge comes in, you’re going to have to discard that gum. I don’t want to see gum on the chairs or floor. There is a trashcan in the room for that reason. So if you are going to chew gum, chew it now. It’s not appropriate while court is in session.

Similarly, if your throat is scratchy, you may have a hard candy throat lozenge, but nothing soft. Not gummy bears, not a Tootsie Roll that your kid has left in your purse that has gotten hard. Hard candy is allowed only.”