From The Center Square:

Nila Bala, associate director of R Street’s Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Program, told The Center Square this was an “access to justice” issue.

“So many litigants in our court system are indigent, are poor, which is why they qualify for a public defender,” Bala said, adding that individuals are expected to pay a $1-per page fee to copy court documents that person could otherwise reproduce for free using a cell phone.

Bala said the measure also could ease client-attorney communication.

“It makes it a lot easier to be able to contact your client on-the-go, and coordinate with them if they’re having transportation or childcare issues, and to update the court about what’s happening and their whereabouts,” Bala said.

The former Baltimore public defender said this was a problem for people who use public transportation and can’t store a phone in their car, and would help litigants who defend themselves to look at court rules and present evidence.

Bala said the rules were “reasonable.”