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Pat Lovett, Bel Air's Person of the Year for 2013

Lovett is the man to thank if you want to take your cell phone into the courthouse.

Pat Lovett (Submitted Photo)
Pat Lovett (Submitted Photo)
Have you ever been inside a Harford County courthouse with your cell phone?

Until this spring, officials would have sent you back to your vehicle because cell phones were banned. Due to the efforts of Bel Air resident Pat Lovett, that's no longer the case.

Lovett began a letter-writing campaign after reading in The Aegis about a woman unable to call for help when she was trapped in an elevator because its alarm system wasn't working and her phone was in the car while she was on jury duty. Harford County's Administrative Judge William Carr had prohibited the use of phones in the courthouse except by lawyers and law enforcement.

However, by Maryland law, citizens were allowed to bring cell phones inside courthouses as of 2011. Seeing an inconsistency, Lovett took action.

"Pat began by writing to Judge Carr and when there was no response, Pat brought it to the attention of The AegisThe Dagger, Maryland Chief Justice Robert Bell and Judge Turnbull of the Maryland Circuit Court," according to the person who nominated Lovett for Bel Air's Person of the Year.

"It was Pat's persistence which led to Judge Carr's reversal of ignoring the Maryland Rule 16-110, which was in effect since January 2011," the nomination stated, noting that community response and Judges Bell and Turnbull were "instrumental" as well.

"By bringing the Maryland rule allowing cell phones in the courthouse to the attention of Judge Carr, a trip to the courthouse is more palatable. I have heard lawyers, reporters and everyday citizens mention how grateful they are for the change to Harford County's exclusionary (and wrong) practice," the nomination stated.

Pat is retired and volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to help juveniles receiving social services. According to his wife, "Other than jury duty, we try to avoid visiting the courthouse!"
Eric W Daxon Sr. January 01, 2014 at 06:30 AM
Bel Air People of The Year, congratulation's on that distinction and award. My favorite person of 2013 is, Pat Lovett. He let the court system know, they aren't above us. I am glad to see you got your hands involved in government and had that law rightfully overturned. Happy New Year!
VolunteerMom2 January 02, 2014 at 12:54 AM
Does anyone know if this includes cell phones with cameras? I seem to remember them telling me in 2010 that if my cell phone didn't have a camera it was ok. (Actually, what cell phone doesn't have a camera these days?)

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