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A man of integrity
April 15, 2013 - Steve Murch
When it comes right down to it, all we have is our integrity to get us through the day. Basically, are you a person of your word, and do you practice what you preach? We all have slip-ups, but most people try and live a life where we are dependable and trustworthy.
I try and take a person at their word, but journalists tend to be a bit skeptical because we need to ask questions. Have enough people lie to you and you tend to be more skeptical and less trustworthy. After a while, most of us develop a BS meter and can tell when someone is trying to snow us, but that doesn't stop us from wanting to see the good in people, we just begin to expect something a little less than that.
That's why I have a new hero today — Judge Raymond Voet of Ionia County 64A District Court.
A story by the Sentinel-Standard of Ionia states that Voet fined himself $25 for contempt of court for disrupting court. So how did he disrupt his own courtroom? By not have his smartphone turned off.
Voet has a policy posted in his courtroom that says “electronic devices causing a disturbance during court sessions will result in the owner being cited with contempt.” Apparently on Friday, the judge forgot to shut off his phone and it went off during a prosecutor's closing arguments in a jury trial.
According to the story Voet has used a Blackberry for years. He said he “wasn't as familiar with the operation of the new touchscreen.”
“That's an excuse, but I don't take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cellphones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.”
“Judges are humans,” Voet said. “They're not above the rules. I broke the rule and I have to live by it.”
I like that, a man with integrity.
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