A Rutherford County General Sessions judge fined himself during court Thursday when his cellular phone sounded off, a violation of court rules.
Judge Christopher Coats was wrapping up court Thursday in Smyrna when his phone sounded off, according to Terry Davenport, the city's court clerk. Under court rules, cellular phones and pagers must be turned off in the courtroom. If they ring, their owners can be charged with contempt of court.
''He (Coats) looked very amazed and turned a little red-faced'' when the device sounded, Davenport said. ''He said, 'I should know better.' ''
Coats found himself in contempt of court and doubled the $5 fine the charge carries, the clerk said.
On Friday, Davenport said the judge had already paid the $10 fine. The offense wasn't serious enough to impact Coats' judgeship beyond the fine, Davenport said.
Judge fines himself for letting cell phone ring