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A US judge who jailed an entire courtroom because no one would cough to being the owner of a ringing mobile phone has been removed from the bench by a commission on judicial conduct. Judge Robert Restaino, 48, was hearing a domestic violence case in Niagara Falls on 11 March 2005 when he heard the offending phone and "snapped", …

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Happy

And the phone was ......

His I expect, probably changed his ringtone by accient and didnt realise.

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Re-instate the man immediately

We need more like him

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Seems perfectly reasonable to me...

... they should just count themselves lucky it wasn't Judge Jefferys -they would all be hanging from the gibbet by now.

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Paris Hilton

Madam, I'm Adam

Robert Restaino sounds like an anagram of something. Restrain booter? Er, robot stainer? Oo, brain tester?

I choose Shilton Parii as my avatar.

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@Lychee66 your wish is granted

I can't understand why we need more people who are fine with declaring their own non-existent authority and jailing people at random even though they haven't done anything. But each to their own... I hereby order you to turn yourself in at the nearest police station. Happy now?

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Properly named...

Judge Robert Restraino

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Good man

US judges complain about this ruling not having a legal basis? WTF is their president doing ALL the time? Starting wars, injail people in Guantanamo. They should rather argue about the legal basis for those actions, instead of sacking some judge in the midlife crisis who tries to put some sense in a few stoopids' heads

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They WERE Warned!

Take it from me, I live near Niagara Falls, NY and in EVERY courtroom I have ever been in, the judge warns people that cell phones are NOT allowed to be on and that people will be charged with "Contempt" if they use them in the courtroom.

Cell phones are a major disturbance in public and Judge Restaino was perfectly within his rights. The judge is literally "God" in his courtroom.

If any judge backs down after repeated warnings like Restaino gave, who would follow his or her orders?

This was an object lesson that needed to be made to maintain the authority and order of the court system, not "madness".

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Lord Chief Justice Cocklecarrot...

..."get the following dwarves out of my court! Scorpion de Rooftrouser, Cleveland Zackhouse, Frums Gillygottle, Edeledel Edel, Churm Rincewind, Sophus Barkayo-Tong, Amaninter Axling, Guttergorm Guttergormpton, Badly Oronparser, Listenis Youghaupt, Molonay Tubilderborst and Farjole Merrybody."

(but Wivens is a cat, Your Honour!)

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Silly way to go about it

He should have just cleared the court and told them to wait outside his courthouse unless they don't have a mobile phone.

There was no need to jail anyone. Then again, there was no need to be in the court either, apart from the actors involved in the case (juries et al).

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Prurient interest

yes, but did they get the phone? I think we should be told - even if it's just to round off the story...

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Coat

Well he misjudged that one.

- He'll have to solicit for a new job now.

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I don't see the problem here?

Anyone whose phone rings in public, and won't own up should be jailed anyway.

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Not the only loony American judge

Don't know why this guy was sacked. There are American judges who make a habit and a PR career from medieval-style arbitrary sentencing (google "creative sentencing" and flick through the local news results), ordering petty criminals to walk behind donkeys or similar silliness in order to humiliate them. And most people seem to think that returning to the era of the scold's bridle and ducking stool is a good thing, or at least funny enough it should trump the rule of law.

The job of a judge is to ensure a fair trial, not to pander to the media or popular bugbears.

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Damn good ruling

I'd say it was a damn good ruling. Mobile phones are a curse, and should be treated as the evil they are. They are the front line in psychological warfare for the ROTM. Drive the humans crazy, and the machines will have an easier time taking over.

The article does not say if the phone in question was ever found.

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Dear Drum D

This is a civil judicial matter and what the #(&#( does what the Feds do in Guantanamo have to do with it. This was a judge that was stepping outside of his powers. Man some people can't tell you the weather without bring up the President. Do not get me wrong....I have a very, very long laundry list of things that the President is doing wrong.

Hm? Can't think of a President that I didn't have some sort of laundry list of things I didn't agree with, can you? I think anyone that agrees with a President 100% of the time has drank the cool aid.

Oh and BTW, a sitting President can not just start a war without the involvement of the other branches of government. I think there are even some running for President that voted for this war but of course denial is now running rampant.

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Boffin

stupid judge...

He should have asked the court to point in the direction they heard the mobile ring from - there would probably be a pretty good consensus and the security goons would only have to search a few people...

Or he could have just relaxed and asked for a recess, during which everyone made sure their mobiles were off...

But, if he really doesn't like ringing mobes*, he should get a jammer... :-)

* now allowed, AFAIK

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He should have had

one of them there do-hickys.

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@ Ashley Pomeroy

It's not an avatar. It's an icon indicating the general tone of the comment. Don't worry though, you're not the only person that can't cope with anything that isn't phpbb.

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H2G2 moment

Truth is beauty, beauty is truth. The judge decided that life was in fact was in fac neither beautiful or true and thereby had it removed from all those present.

My coat awaits, it's been nice knowing you....

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How long does US justice take?

11th March 2005? I wonder what he's been up to for the last 30 months!

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Dead Vulture

They are not God

To the poster that said, "Judges are God in the courtroom." They may want you to think that but it really isn't true. Oh they may have power to use but if they use it in the wrong manner....well ask this judge. Actually (Judges hate this) but in the courtroom the power is in the jury. Not the judges, not the attorney but the jury.

Both attorneys and judges like to keep us fooled that "they" are the ones in charge. Full of it they are!

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Don't see what the problem is

Given that the US is on a rampage as far as personal freedoms are concerned, I cannot see why this is a problem. Frankly it's a case of left hand not knowing what right hand is doing.

And Dubya is obviously a perfect example to drag in (again). After all, he's the one setting examples.

So war cannot be declared by the President alone ? And ? Is that supposed to mean that the muppets would have actually had the balls to go against it ? Of course not, As far as I remember, the war was approved at a dictatorship-like 90-something percent, with only a few abstentions which were commented on as end-of-career decisions. NOBODY said no to the war. Not one. So anyone who says otherwise is a liar.

But hey, what else do you expect from politicians ?

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Paris Hilton

what ringtone?

What ringtone drove a judge that mad? Maybe it was Crazy Frog?

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Another lift from the BBC News website

Has anyone else noticed the "special relationship" that seems to exist between the BBC News and El Reg? General news starts on the Beeb, ends up here, tech news appears here first, pops up on El Beeb later the same day?

If I didn't know betterm I'd say there was a conspiracy...

Stuart

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in a British courtroom, however..

..it's likely that Lord Chief Justice Cocklecarrot wouldn't even have known what a "mo-billphone" or a "rington" were.

"Clerk of the Court, what exactly is a mobile phone?"

"a modern personal portable communications device, Your Honour, I understand that they are popular with young people and the beatnik crowd"

"good gracious, whatever next? anyway, guilty!"

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Who will be first to give him

a ringing endorsement?

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(The) Justice was done.

After 'barring' everyone.

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@ BOB JOHNSON

The key words you seem to be missing are "No legal basis".

Legal basis is legal basis in any courtroom. That some folks dont care when theres no legal basis sometimes, but does care at others is exactly the point he's making. Civil, Criminal, Familly, the court doesnt matter, its Hippocracy.

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Paris Hilton

So let's restrain from the US

God I'm glad not to life in the US of A!

They jail you en masse because some twit keeps the mob(il)e running in court.

Or they taser you to death for whatever reason.

Or sack you for whatever reason (remember the teacher being sacked for pr0n on the school's pc).

No Sir, no more holidays in the states for me, then. Land of the Free? - gone.

choosing PH 'cause she does not taser or jail. Just suck, that is.

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Mobile Music

Sitting on a bus or train while some muppet blasts their crap music through a god awful tinny speaker on their mobile phone is damded annoying. I'm quite happy to see the folk tied to the rail track (Eurostar high speed connection) and then sell tickets for the event. The Judge has my full support.

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@ Joe Stalin

So you would be quite happy to find your entire bus/train jailed (including yourself) ???

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@Chad H

I, for one, welcome the arrival of our houyhnhnm masters

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@Drum D

@Drum D

You seem to think that our president just woke up one morning and said, hmmm... seems like a good day to flatten iraq and ordered our military in to action, taking hostage random people and torturing them.

thats now how it went, the president was given a signed declaration of war issued by congress, based on real and credible information that a hostile rouge nation and state sponsor of terror possessed weapons of mass destruction and would likely use them against his people (as he did twice before) or supply them to terrorists groups, the same terrorist groups that has carried out attacks on not only the US but the UK, Spain and many other nations. the media claims that these WMD's were never found, the truth is, they have been found, not in some big huge warehouse, but in small amounts scattered throughout iraq, to the tune of 3 times the amount initially reported to congress, they refuse to report this though, that would make them look bad!

whats sad is the world takes what the media says as gospel and jumps on the president bashing bandwagon, it goes to show how stupid the general public really is. If you want to know the truth, all you have to do is look for it, its there, readily available and easy to find, all you have to do is look.

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@ AC; Re: @Chad H

If this keyboard shorts out from the coffee that I just blorted over it while laughing, it's going to be all your fau...¢‹ÎUH8F^%√§&&*()))˚˚º≠≠=g§ƒ......................................

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@Tawakalna

Dr Strabismus, I presume...

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@BOB

"in the courtroom the power is in the jury. Not the judges, not the attorney but the jury"

That statement couldnt be more wrong, every state in the union has laws on the books granting Judges the power to vacate a juries guilty verdict and enter his own verdict if he feels the verdict is not consistent with the evidence presented or if the evidence itself tainted or inaccurate. most judge dont like to exercise this power, but some do, some very interesting situations have come from judges vacating guilty verdicts on the spot. the only power the jury holds over the judge is on an acquittal, no states allow judges to throw out not guilty verdicts, if the jury fails to convict, thats the end of it.

Judges also have the power to change the final charge the jury agrees upon in cases of open ended charges such as murder / manslaughter where the jury decides what level of crime the defendant is guilty of.

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@Walter Brown

Oh come on! WMD found "in small amounts scattered throughout iraq, [sic] to the tune of 3 times the amount initially reported to congress", and you say "they refuse to report this though, that would make them look bad!". I am sure that Fox News, Sky News would LOVE to report this, if it were true, so close are they to the Republican opinion. Even the BBC would report it, as they are (still) fairly unbiased. The fact is, NO weapons of mass destruction have been found, in any kind of quantities.

And what exactly is a "rouge" country? One that has turned a little red?

Stuart

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@ ChrB

"Or sack you for whatever reason (remember the teacher being sacked for pr0n on the school's pc)."

Yes, being sacked is so much worse than being jailed and possibly whipped because you allowed your class full of children to name a teddy bear, isn't it?

Barbarian savages running entire nations in the Middle East, and we hear cretins criticising our self-admitted problems, and *don't* cut off their hands, or heads, or beat them in public. Whatever can we be thinking? We should conform to *their* ideas of justice!

Which would mean nuking their cities until there was nothing left but radioactive glass. Hmm. I suppose that's what they want, though.

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@pascal monett

actually, your assertion that NO ONE voted against the resolution giving Dubya the "de facto" authorization to invade Iraq is INCORRECT. Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, CA voted 'NO' on the resolution, and was the only one for quite a while to consistently vote against our Little Caesar and his hypocritical, corrupt cronies controlling Congress at the time. Dennis Kucinich eventually came round as well, and now that the Democrats aren't QUITE as afraid as they were for 3 years after 9/11, more of them are standing up to the crooks, but only in matters that sidestep any opportunity for Rethuglicans to call them "weak" or "soft" or "flippy-floppy" or whatever the groupthink term of the week is.

but, that aside, those of you asserting there should be more judges like this and that he is "God" in his courtroom and that sort of NONSENSE all seem to be enamored of this idea that authority derives from itself or "rightness" or whatever, rather than from people, which is contrary to the fundamental principles of the the Magna Carta and U.S. Constitution (as well as those of other countries) and the basic beliefs that underlie it, like "the rule of law". it's sad to me that people continue to romanticize the idea of power for its own sake and wanton misuse of it to deprive people of their rights, because you underline the fact that we've learned little from all the bloodshed, cruelty, wasted lives, and wasted resources our history.

stop for a bit and consider how this man interrupted peoples' lives. some of them undoubtedly had children they couldn't attend to or perhaps meetings or other committments for work that they couldn't keep. there were probably financial impacts for these people (even simple things like parking fines and the like) -- through no fault of their own and all because some judge let being "God" in his courtroom go to his head.

i don't like cellphones all that much either, but there's a lot of leeway in deciding how to deal with a situation like this (perhaps the person simply FORGOT to turn it off) that don't involve taking it to an extreme like this.

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Why not jam it?

A jamming device can do so, if ringing is THAT bad in the courtroom. Does anyone know whether jamming is illegal in US?

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@Walter Brown

"the truth is, they have been found"

Ha ha ha ha...

"a hostile rouge nation"

Ha ha ha please stop....

"to the tune of 3 times the amount initially reported to congress, they refuse to report this though"

omfg ha ha ha genius...

You are joking right?

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Anonymous Coward

You got to be kidding

"based on real and credible information that a hostile rouge nation and state sponsor of terror possessed weapons of mass destruction"

I may never stop laughing at the out and out naivete of the above, real, credible totally false information, that any thinking person knew to be false at the time. As for the ludicrous claim they were found, if that was so president stupid would be screaming it to the media all the time, why would he cover it up?

However in the light of your beliefs you may be interested in a large coat hangar shaped bridge I have for sale here in Australia.

I would call you a moron, but that would be insulting to self respecting morons.

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@ Walter Brown

They couldn't even find the sugar in Iraq .

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Why did it take over 2 years to give this nitwit the boot?

Seriously. Over 2 years! What does a judge have to do to be debenched immediately? Stab someone in court?

For those who say "they all deserved it", imagine that you are sitting on a train, and some police come in, and declare "we smell marijuana, someone here has been smoking illegal drugs, who is it?". No one owns up. You are then arrested with everyone else on the train, and sent to prison.

That is PRECISELY what happened in this case: just swap "illegal drugs" for "phone". I wouldn't be surprised if civil suits for wrongful arrest are brought because of this case; I'd certainly consider it if I was treated in such a dreadful manner.

The problem with cases like this is that they erode public trust in the judiciary, and in the long term, public trust is really the only thing keeping the judiciary and executive separate (constitutions have a way of changing).

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Fascinating!

I find it fascinating that some see no problem with this, "Because the person had their phone on in court." or some other inane logic. People, please! The issue is penalizing ALL people based upon the actions of one! Duh!

Has logic and common sense suffered so terribly in such a short period of time? It makes me want to cry that some are so anxious to PUNISH people that they couldn't care less about the rationality or the lack of limits.

This is the same exact mentality that lead us into Iraq! No rational person, based upon the evidence presented, could see a connection between Iraq and 9-11, or terrorism or anything else. However, like spoiled immature children, this country wanted to strike out in blind rage...

Really, it isn't cute, it isn't witty or anything else. It is nothing more than a childish response to push everyone because you are unable or cowardly unable to deal with the real trouble maker.

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Paris Hilton

Long long ago...

...when I was a small Mr Larrington, this sort of thing went on all the time at my skool. Never did me any $&*()%^** NO CARRIER

I'm sure it wouldn't have been beyond the wit of man to have all present searched, their phones examined and the owner of the one with the "Missed Call" wossname flashing balefully to be taken out behind the bins and given a good kicking, but judges the world over are renowned for their tenuous grip on reality...

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Boffin

Simple Solution

There's a simple solution to the problem of mobile phones ringing unwantedly.

Radio waves cannot travel through anything that conducts electricity -- and neither can they pass through a hole smaller than about a tenth of a wavelength in said conductive material.

A thin layer of metal mesh (earthed just to make sure) in the walls and across the windows would keep the signal out. Mobile phones work in the 1.8GHz band, giving a wavelength of 16.6cm. So the mesh could have gaps up to 16mm. and still block telephones.

(By stating this in a public forum, I have automatically rendered the idea unpatentable. Lester Haines is welcome to wave a printout of this comment in the face of any patent troll while screaming "PRIOR ART!!!")

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Paris Hilton

USA 11-2

@Walter et al

WMDs? WTF? Whatever... you lost - get over it. (and yes it is over you just don't know it yet)

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