Beepers and cell phones.
They never get the message.
The Simpson trial judge, Lance Ito, did everything short of creating an international incident to keep beeping pagers and ringing cell phones from disrupting proceedings. The trial attorneys were the worst offenders, but members of the media followed closely behind. Here’s what I wrote in Anatomy of a Trial:
“A court order that prohibited talking, reading newspapers, chewing gum, eating or having audible cell phones and pagers on while court was in session was posted on the courtroom door. Copies were also taped to the rail separating the counsel area from spectators and to the back of each row of seats. They were hard to miss. Yet people continued to gab, chew, and grab their ringing cell phones and chirping pagers. Ito scolded from the bench and directed deputies to confiscate offending pagers and phones.”
When he had a device confiscated, he made the offender write him a letter of apology in order to get it back, which he usually did the next day. Back then, though, people’s careers didn’t depend on umbilical-cord connection to cellphones the way they do now.