MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Effective immediately, electronic devices will be prohibited in the three major judicial centers in the Eastern Panhandle.

A ruling was signed by 23rd Judicial Court Chief Judge Stephen Redding May 17th that specified that “No person, without first obtaining the consent of a judicial officer, shall be permitted to bring into the Berkeley County Judicial Center, the Jefferson County Courthouse Complex, and/or the Morgan County Courthouse electronic devices except judicial officers, courthouse employees, attorneys, and sworn law enforcement officers.”

Redding wrote that witnesses, jurors and those responding to the legal process “have a right to move about the courthouse without being photographed, recorded, or having the precise time of their departure from the security afforded within the courthouse complex communicated to persons outside the courthouse.”

It’s an effort to “ensure the safety of all persons in the courts and their environs” and noted that the “means, methods, and procedures of providing court security must be restricted from being recorded and disseminated outside the courthouse complex,” according to the order.

Exceptions may include the recording of weddings and adoptions or with the express permission of “a presiding judicial officer.”

Anyone violating the new restrictions is subject to a fine or imprisonment on a contempt of court charge.