Have you ever noticed while watching TV or movie courtroom scenes when the attorneys sitting at either the plaintiff or defense table covers the microphone with their hands when talking with their clients? That’s because in most courtrooms there is an audio recording of the proceedings.
But what you may not realize is there are often microphones throughout the courtroom, and they may be on even while the court is in recess. “Shhh, the little blue man is listening!” Often, our founder said that to her clients and to witnesses. In one of the jurisdictions where she practiced, there was a lucite light panel with the outline of a man that was backlit in blue when the court microphones were on. Hence the reference to the little blue man.
Not heeding this advice was New Jersey family law attorney William Laufer when he reportedly told his opposing counsel during a court recess that the prosecutor was in his pocket: “Whatever I ask he does.” A June 17, 2015 abajournal.com article titled “Courtroom mic, left on during recess, picks up lawyer’s assertion that prosecutor ‘is in my pocket,'” reported on the matter. As noted in the article, unfortunately for Mr. Laufer, the courtroom microphones were on when he made this statement. This led to an allegation by an opposing litigant that Mr. Laufer was responsible for the prosecutor not pursuing stalking charges against Mr. Laufer’s client. Certainly Mr. Laufer was embarrassed, as was the prosecutor who denied the allegation. Whether there will be professional repercussions is yet to be seen.
So to all legal consumers who might someday find themselves in a courtroom, LPR shares the following tip. Always remember to be careful what you say . . . the little blue man, or some other audio device, may be listening.