Judge Rocky Coss
Judge Rocky Coss

Courtesy of the Hon. Judge Rocky Coss
Highland County Common Pleas Court

Today, for the first time since I became Judge almost seven years ago, I unknowingly carried my cell phone into court and, during a suppression hearing in a criminal case, my lovely wife decided to call me.

In accordance with my standing rule of zero tolerance for ringing cell phones during court proceedings, I was guilty of contempt for my ringing cell phone disrupting the proceedings.

I was totally embarrassed and immediately turned it off. The attorneys nearly suffered physical injury trying to avoid laughing.

Since the Judge must be held to the same rules that others are expected to follow, I had no choice but to fine myself $25 and file the entry finding myself in contempt. The fine was paid in cash on the record.

I thought my only claim to fame as a judge would be the only judge in Ohio who has a Scarlet and Gray Robe, but now I am probably the only judge in Ohio to find himself/herself in contempt and pay the fine.

You never know what fun event life will bring especially to the attorneys present during the hearing. I am contemplating having the Bailiff search me before I go into court to avoid being a repeat offender. We have never had a repeat offender on the cell phone violation and I certainly do not want to be the first in that category.