Access to justice

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, December 4, 2019

To the editor:

It used to be, when I had a car and needed to go the courthouse, I could at least leave my phone in my car before entering the courthouse. (That is the only electronic device I carried around with me.)

Now, not possessing a vehicle and relegated to homelessness, I have nowhere to keep my phone if I need to go to the courthouse. In the past, there were a couple local businesses that allowed me to keep my stuff there. They no longer allow that to happen — nor should they.

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As I see it, the responsibility is on the courts to provide an alternative. If we once could bring electronics into the court building but are no longer able to — even for good reasons — they should provide an alternative. Not having an alternative solution, as I see it, denies access to justice.

Beyond that, I empathize with the courts. There may not be an easy solution. I offer one consideration which may not be a total solution but may become part of a solution: since there are other reasons a person may want or need to go to the courthouse (deeds, clerk’s office, etc.), maybe the policy could change to “no electronics in the courtrooms.” That would involve some imaginative allocation of resources; the upside is that, if we could bring them into the courthouse but not the courtrooms, we would avoid being denied access to justice.

Kevin Snashall