AP, Jan. 11, 2006
BOSTON, Massachusetts — A top Massachusetts judge has banned clothing bearing the phrase “Stop Snitching” and outlawed camera phones in the state’s courthouses in an effort to counter a rising climate of witness intimidation.
The move by Robert A. Mulligan, chief justice for administration and management of the state’s court system, follows a year in which the city recorded a 10-year high for homicides.
“There are some people coming to courthouses, a very small fraction of people, who come there to chill individuals from participating in the process,” Mulligan told The Boston Globe in an interview published Wednesday.
Also, no one will be allowed to operate cell phones equipped with still or video cameras inside a courtroom.
Mulligan said the policy was motivated in part by an incident in Salem Superior Court last spring. During a gang-related trial, several friends of the defendant were seen using camera phones to photograph a prosecutor, a police investigator and a witness who was testifying, according to Steve O’Connell, a spokesman for the Essex District Attorney’s office.