A little respect, please

Published 12:33 am Friday, August 12, 2011

Recent visits to the Beaufort County Courthouse developed a recurring theme: many people in Beaufort County District Court do not follow simple instructions.

Their failure to follow those simple instructions — turn off cellphones, no talking with one another, don’t let the double doors swing back and forth when entering or leaving the courtroom — disrupts the court proceedings, making it difficult to keep up with court proceedings and hear what the judge, lawyers, defendants, witnesses and bailiffs are saying.

Just the other day, after being warned by a bailiff to turn off cellphones, not to talk in court and not to let the double doors swing back and forth while leaving or entering the courtroom, several people in the courtroom failed to comply with those instructions. In a two-hour period, four cellphones rang, five people were admonished for talking and ordered to take their conversations to the hallway outside the courtroom and at least a dozen people let the double doors swing to and fro as they left or entered the courtroom. Those swinging doors do make a distracting noise.

Listen, folks, although court can be entertaining at times, court is serious business. Courts are open to the public, but the public has a hard time figuring out what is happening in court with so many distractions disrupting the dispensation of justice and, sometimes, mercy.

Those who display contemptible behavior in court should keep three words in mind: contempt of court.

Don’t know that that means? Continue that bad behavior in court and a judge will explain it to you.