Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

General Informational Guide for the Media

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Introduction
Courthouse Locations
Local Rules
Clerk’s Office
Media Communications with the Court
Case File and Docket Information
Information for a Specific Case, Trial, or Hearing
Orders
Court Records
Media Workrooms

Food and Drink
Courthouse Entry and Exit
Building Security
Equipment
Interviewing Witnesses
Trial Date and Time
Courtroom Decorum
Sketch Artists
Transcripts

Introduction

The Clerk’s Office of the United States District Court for the Central District of California has prepared this informational guide to foster cooperation between the Court and the media.  The Clerk’s Office will make every reasonable effort to accommodate the media’s needs and to provide it with the essential information it needs to do its job.  It is the intention of the Clerk’s Office to treat all members of the media equally and fairly and to afford all media representatives the same degree of access.  Media representatives should understand, however, that the judge presiding over a particular case is fully responsible for the trial and his or her courtroom, and expects the media to comply with terms that he or she may specify.  Accordingly, specific information and/or procedures concerning a trial or hearing may be issued or implemented by the judge presiding over the particular matter.

Courthouse Locations

The United States District Court for the Central District of California is comprised of three divisions: Western, Southern, and Eastern.

Western Division
First Street Courthouse
350 W. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(Media workroom located in Room 10104)

and

Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse
255 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Southern Division
Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
411 West 4th Street
Santa Ana, California 92701-4516

Eastern Division
U.S. Courthouse
3470 Twelfth Street
Riverside, California 92501

For directions to the courthouses, locations of nearby public parking lots, and other general information about the Central District of California’s courthouses, visit the Court Locations section of this website.

Local Rules

The media should familiarize itself with Local Rule 83-6 pertaining to the possession and use of wireless communication devices and equipment capable of taking, making, recording, or broadcasting any still image or audio or video recording in the courthouses and other designated areas.  All of the Court’s Local Rules are available on this website.

Clerk’s Office

The office of the Clerk of Court is located in Room 5550 on the fifth floor of the First Street Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.  Regular business hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.  The telephone numbers are 213-894-1565 and 213-894-3535.

Media Communications with the Court

No one should telephone a judge’s chambers or courtroom deputy clerk.  All questions that cannot be answered with publicly available information, such as the information on this website and on PACER, may be directed to the Chief Deputy of Operations at (213) 894-8481.

Case File and Docket Information

The case docket for any case in this district is available online.  The media and the public can obtain access to the system through the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system, the federal judiciary’s electronic public access case information service. The PACER system offers an inexpensive, fast, and comprehensive case information service to any individual with a personal computer and internet access.  The system is simple enough that little user training or documentation is required.  For more information about PACER and the types of case information it provides, refer to Electronic Access to Case Information for the Media.

Information for a Specific Case, Trial, or Hearing

Information regarding a specific case, trial, or hearing can be obtained from PACER.  Do not call the Court to request this information.  Members of the media can sign up to receive email notifications of new filings in a particular case or cases; click here for more information.

Orders

Any order issued by a judge, unless it is under seal, will be available on PACER as soon as it is docketed.  Such orders may also be posted on the Court’s website under “Opinions” if the judge presiding over the case authorizes such posting in addition to its availability on PACER.  If you are anticipating a ruling in a particular case, you may sign up for electronic notification of new filings in the case.  For instructions on registering for and using this service, please refer to Electronic Access to Case Information for the Media.

Every effort will be made to ensure that the order is provided in a timely manner in accordance with the judge’s instructions.  The media must not contact the judge’s chambers or the courtroom deputy clerk to obtain a copy of the order.

Court Records

As mandated by the Judicial Conference of the United States, there is a charge for copies, certifications, and exemplifications of court documents.  Case files and dockets may be obtained unless the requested material is under seal or unavailable.  For high profile trials and hearings, specific Clerk’s Office staff may be assigned to handle media requests.  

The case number will identify the Court division in which the case is pending and the district judge and magistrate judge before whom the matter is pending.  Most case files are now only maintained electronically, but if a paper file exists, it will be kept in the division where the case is pending.  To identify the division, refer to the prefix of the case number as follows:

Western Division (Los Angeles, prefix 02)
02:19-cv-0000 (civil)
02:19-cr-0000 (criminal)

Southern Division (Santa Ana, prefix 08)
08:19-cv-0000 (civil)
08:19-cr-0000 (criminal)

Eastern Division (Riverside, prefix 05)
05:19-cv-0000 (civil)
05:19-cr-0000 (criminal)

Numbers are assigned sequentially in each division.  Thus case number 02:19-cv-0003-CJC (MRWx) denotes the third civil case filed in Los Angeles in 2019.  The district judge assigned to the case has the initials CJC, and the magistrate judge assigned to the case has the initials MRW.

Media Workrooms

In downtown Los Angeles, the Clerk’s Office has designated Room 10104 on the 10th floor of the First Street Courthouse and Room TS-132 on the Temple Street level of the Edward R Roybal Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse as media workrooms.  Only members of the media with press credentials will be allowed to utilize the rooms.  The media is responsible for the cost of telephone, fax, and photocopy equipment installation and use.

Food and Drink

There are places to obtain food and drink on the 1st floor of the First Street Courthouse and the 1st floor of the Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse.  Vending machines are available in the Santa Ana Courthouse on the 1st and 3rd floors.  Vending machines are also available at the Riverside Courthouse.

Courthouse Entry and Exit

All persons entering the courthouses must show a government-issued photo identification and must pass through a security screening device.  For more details, see “Building Security” below.

During high profile trials and hearings, the U.S. Marshals Service may establish special entry and exit procedures from the doors of the courthouse to the public sidewalk to enable everyone entering and leaving the courthouse to do so safely.

Building Security

As stated above, all parties entering the courthouse must show a government-issued photo identification and must pass through a security screening device.  Acceptable identification includes official identification issued by any U.S. state or the U.S. government.  The only acceptable international identification is a government-issued passport with a current U.S. visa.  Any person entering the courthouse on Court business without proper identification will be escorted to the courtroom or office to ensure that he or she has legitimate Court business.

All courthouse visitors must pass through and clear a metal detector.  Cell Phones must be set on the silent vibrate mode upon entering the courthouse.  Other than Wireless Communication Devices as defined in Local Civil Rule 83-6.1.1, cameras, electronic recording devices, audio recorders, knives (including pocketknives), and weapons (including mace) are not allowed in the building.  There are no provisions for Court Security Officers to hold such items while the owners are in the courthouse.  CELL PHONES AND ALL OTHER ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT MUST BE TURNED OFF ENTIRELY WHILE IN A COURTROOM, unless the presiding judge has granted permission to keep them on.  Should any of these devices be used during Court proceedings without prior authorization by the judge, the offending person will be removed from the courtroom and may be subject to sanctions.

Equipment

Under Local Rule 83-6, the use or possession of any device capable of taking, making, recording, or broadcasting any still image or audio or video recording that does not fall within the definition of Wireless Communication Devices set forth in Local Rule 83-6.1.1 is prohibited in the Clerk’s Office and courtroom floors of the courthouses and the courthouse parking areas.  Cameras and other audio and/or video equipment not within the definition of Wireless Communication Devices are not permitted in the courthouse except for special Court proceedings with prior Court approval or for press conferences by other agencies in the federal courthouse.  Although the possession of Wireless Communication Devices is permitted in the courthouses, unless otherwise ordered by a judge of this court or a duly designated visiting judge, they may not be used to take photographs or to make or transmit audio or video recordings in the Clerk’s Office and courtroom floors of the courthouses and the courthouse parking areas, and must be turned off completely in (1) all courtrooms at all times; (2) any other room in which court proceedings are being held, while those proceedings are in process; (3) any designated jury room, during jury deliberations; and (4) any area where relevant restrictions are posted.

Interviewing Witnesses

Interviewing witnesses using any type of recording device after a Court hearing or trial is prohibited in the areas specified in Local Rule 83-6.

Trial Date and Time

Each judge’s calendar may vary; however, trials are generally held on Tuesdays through Fridays, from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a 15-minute break during each session.  When Monday is a federal holiday, trials may be held from Tuesday through Thursday or from Wednesday through Friday of that week.  For further information, consult the individual “Judges’ Procedures and Schedules” or the master calendar.

Courtroom Decorum

The Court does not have a formal dress code; however, business attire is strongly suggested.  At no time is food or drink allowed in the courtroom.  All cell phones must be turned off when in the courtroom.  Although most judges allow the use of laptop computers in the courtroom during trial, the courtroom deputy must be consulted as to whether such equipment is permitted.

Sketch Artists

Courtroom artists and others must notify the courtroom deputy clerk before sketching is permitted in the courtroom.  Sketch artists are prohibited from drawing detailed sketches of witnesses and jurors; however, silhouettes with no distinguishing features may be done.

Transcripts

Civil and criminal transcripts may be purchased through the individual court reporter assigned to the case.

A copy of an audio tape or transcript from an electronically recorded Court proceeding before a U.S. Magistrate Judge may be purchased through the Court Recording Department of the Clerk’s Office.

To identify the court reporter who covered the hearing or trial, consult the appropriate docket entry on the docket sheet or review the minute order for that day’s proceedings.