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Chicago Judges Crack|Down on Cellphones

CHICAGO (CN) - Citing possible witness manipulation, a judge banned cell phones and other electronic devices from all Cook County criminal courthouses except the Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago's civic center.

Chief Judge Timothy Evans said judges have complained that people are using their phones to take pictures of witnesses, judges and jurors.

Evans said judges believe people have texted testimony to witnesses outside the court who were waiting to testify.

Evans hopes to send a strong message to gang members and others that intimidation will not be tolerated, The Associated Press reported.

The order takes effect in January and is applicable in facilities where criminal matters are heard.

All electronic devices capable of connecting to the Internet or making audio or video recordings - including laptops and tablet computers - will be banned.

The Richard J. Daley Center is famous for the enormous Picasso sculpture that adorns it. Mocked when it was unveiled in 1967, the sculpture has become a symbol of Chicago and a source of civic pride.

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