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Bizarre HR: Judge finds himself in contempt

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In a true show of leading by example, a US judge whose cellphone disrupted his own courtroom decided to hold himself in contempt of court.

Judge Raymond Voet, of Michigan, has also ordered himself to pay US$25 (S$30) for the infraction.

Voet had recently posted a new policy at the Ionia 64A District Court warning electronic devices that cause a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt, AP and the Sentinel-Standard of Ioniareported.

Last week, during a jury trial, Voet’s new smartphone began emitting sounds and requesting voice commands. Voet said he likely bumped his phone in his pocket.

“It started talking really loud, saying ‘I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,'” he told the paper.

He said he wasn’t familiar with the workings of his new phone, but admitted he wouldn’t take that excuse from someone else in the courtroom.

“That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on.”

During a break in the trial, Voet held himself in contempt, fined himself and paid the fine.

“Judges are humans,” he said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”

Over the years, Voet has taken phones away from police officers, attorneys, witnesses, spectators and friends.

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