A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


"No, I don't have a bar ID, I'm an expert witness. But you can't expect me to sit through this whole trial at $550/hr without looking at Reddit on my phone." AI Generated, displayed with permission

Prior to today, it has generally been easy to bring phones and other electronics (except for standalone cameras and recording devices) into the District of Delaware courthouse. The security team checks IDs, but did not require further identification to keep your phone.

Today, the Court issued a new electronics policy, which goes into effect Monday, and requires members of the public to lock their phones and other devices away upon entering the courthouse:

1. All cameras and personal electronic devices shall be subiect to inspection upon entry to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building and United States Courthouse. Such devices may not be used in violation of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 (prohibiting courtroom photography and broadcasting in criminal cases) and Local Civil Rule 83.2 (prohibiting photographs and broadcasting). The Court may authorize exceptions for investitures, ceremonial or naturalization proceedings, law school moot court proceedings, and activities sponsored by a bar association for continuing legal education.
2. Subject to the exemptions set forth in Paragraph 4 of this Standing Order, all cameras, cellular telephones, smart phones, smart watches, and similarly sized personal electronic devices shall be turned off in the presence of Court Security Officers upon entry to the courthouse and placed in a locked pouch provided by the U.S. Marshal. Devices shall remain in the locked pouch in the possession of the owner while in the courthouse.
3. The locked pouch may not be intentionally opened, damaged, or tampered with while in the visitor's possession, and it must be returned to the Court Security Officer before leaving the courthouse, at which time the personal electronic device will be returned to the visitor. Intentional damage to, or theft of, the locked pouch will subject the visitor to possible criminal penalties.

Notably, there is an exception for attorneys who have a valid bar identification card:

Unless otherwise ordered by the Chief Judge, or the presiding judge in a specific case, only the following persons shall be exempt from placing their personal electronic devices in a locked pouch: . . . All attorneys with . . . a valid bar identification card . . . .

There do not appear to be exceptions for client representatives, fact or expert witnesses, law firm staff such as paralegals or legal administrative assistants, or journalists—although we'll have to see how it plays out in practice.

In any case, if you're an attorney, make sure to add bar ID cards to your checklist for visiting the courthouse!

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