LEBANON, Tenn. (WKRN) – A local mom in court on a speeding ticket said she was threatened to be thrown in jail because of her cell phone.
The Wilson County Justice Center bans cell phones, and the mother found out the hard way, despite posted signs.
“I don’t agree with it,” Casey Givens told News 2.
Givens, a Smithville resident, was in Lebanon Monday to set up a payment plan with the court for a speeding ticket.
“Lord knows I got a lead foot,” she said.
Her license was suspended after she received an insurance violation citation in neighboring DeKalb County.
Givens said she made it through security with her BlackBerry the first time.
“I went in, seen the judge and walked away,” she recalled.
After court, Givens went outside to call her mother for a ride home. She said she put the phone in her back pocket and went back inside to pay her fines.
“That’s when I had two police officers on me with metal detectors, searching me up and down, and asking me what I had in my back pocket,” Givens said.
She was then taken back before Judge Haywood Barry.
“He’s like, normally I give 10-day jail time [for a cell phone violation], or I can just put it in a vault,” she said.
The no cell phone policy has been in place at the courthouse since April of 2014 after someone at a trial texted witnesses outside the courtroom about what witnesses on the stand were testifying.
All the judges in the county signed the order banning cell phones.
Judge Barry said the order speaks for itself; therefore he had no further comment.
A total of 11 signs are clearly posted from outside the justice center, inside and before passing security.
“I was just scared I was going to go to jail for bringing my phone in,” Givens said. “I’m a single mom and I can’t necessarily do jail time like that.”
All confiscated cell phones remain in the clerk’s office vault and are never returned to their owners.
Givens said all of her phone numbers and son’s photos are on that phone, plus, she’s looking for a job and she listed that number on job applications.
“Say if someone wants to call me about a job, I’m going to miss out on job opportunities all because my phone is in a vault,” she said.
Even though Givens doesn’t agree with the policy, she said she knows she got off easy.
“When they threaten 10 days jail time, I was like really, seriously, I could go to jail,” Givens said.
More than 1,000 people passed through security Monday, and only one violated the cell phone policy.
The cell phone ban excludes law enforcement, employees, attorneys and the working media.