Medina County Courthouse

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Holds Men in Contempt for Taking Pictures of Jury

On Wednesday, Feburary 24, 2010, Judge Nancy Margaret Russo of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, put two men in jail for contempt of court for either making a video recording, or giving the impression of taking pictures, of a jury during a murder trial. One man used a small camcorder to take pictures of the jury and an assistant county prosecutor. The other man was appearing to take pictures with his cell phone, but when the cell phone was confiscated, there were no pictures on it.

Judge Russo jailed the men for contempt because they were "intimidating and frightening my jury" and making it more difficult to get people to serve on juries. The man with the video camcorder received 60 days in jail while the man with the cell phone got 30 days in jail.

Judge Russo also declared a mistrial of the murder case which the men were attending. Judge Russo said that so many jurors were intimidated by the incident, that it was impossible to continue the trial.

Following the incident Judge Russo and other Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judges posted signs forbidding the use of recording devices and ordering that cell phones be turned off when entering their courtrooms.

A more complete account of this incident was reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and can be read by clicking here.

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