The Circuit Court of Cook County is alerting the public that effective April 2, 2016, the Cook County Department of Facilities Management will no longer provide storage lockers for the public to store banned items at courthouses. This includes the Leighton Criminal Court Building, at 26th Street and California Avenue, where smartphones have been banned for the past 3 years.
Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans was notified by the Cook County Department of Facilities Management that, due to security and staffing concerns, it will remove all storage lockers that it had installed at courthouses as a service for the public to safely store banned items while they conduct court business.
“It is critical that the message gets out that there will no longer be lockers available beginning April 2 at any of the courthouses,” said Chief Judge Evans. “At the Leighton Criminal Court Building, my particular concern is that people who are relying on the county’s storage lockers won’t be able to clear security and will miss court if they bring a smartphone.”
People who miss court could be subjected to bail forfeitures, be held in contempt of court or have warrants issued for their arrest. Family and friends of defendants and victims could also miss court hearings, and subpoenaed witnesses would be subject to being held in contempt of court and possible civil liability to the party issuing the subpoena.
The Sheriff has banned approximately two dozen items from all Cook County courthouses, and the list includes items such as knives, mace spray, cameras and recording devices.