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Judge jails courtroom over ringing phone

Date 3 Dec 2007

A US judge has been sacked for jailing an entire courtroom audience after none of them admitted responsibility for a ringing phone. Judge Robert Restaino had been presiding over a series of domestic violence cases when he heard a mobile phone ring and "snapped".

"Every single person is going to jail in this courtroom unless I get that instrument now," he told the courtroom's audience, according to the BBC.

When no one came forward, the judge ordered that the entire courtroom audience of 46 people be taken into custody and set bail at $1,500. The audience and defendants were then taken to Niagara City jail, where they were searched and packed into crowded cells. Fourteen people who could not post bail were later shackled and transported to another prison.

The judge has 30 days to appeal against his suspension.

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