General Informational Guide for the Media
The clerk’s office of the United States District Court, Central District of California, has prepared this informational guide to foster cooperation between the Court and the media in dealing with the high level of public interest and the resulting media influx generated by high profile trials and hearings in the district. In furtherance of this goal, 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 the 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.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California is comprised of three divisions: Western, Southern, and Eastern.
312 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
(Media workroom located in room 455)
Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse
255 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
411 West 4th Street
Santa Ana, California 92701-4516
(Media workroom located in room 1-115)
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.
The media should familiarize itself with Local Civil 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.
The office of the District Court Executive and Clerk of Court is located in Room G-8 on the Main Street level of the Spring Street Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Regular business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The telephone numbers are 213-894-1565 and 213-894-3535.
The Court has designated the District Court Executive to serve as its Press Liaison for routine media issues, such as disseminating information on scheduling, court procedures, courtroom seating for high profile hearings and trials, and logistics in a particular case. Should there be a need to contact the Court on any issues pertaining to or affecting the media as a whole, please contact the District Court Executive at 213-894-8844. No one should telephone a judge’s chambers or the courtroom deputy clerk, and all questions should be addressed to the District Court Executive. Please be advised that the District Court Executive may also designate a specific Court manager to answer questions or to provide press and entry passes for proceedings of high public and media interest.
The case docket for any case in this district is available on-line from the Court’s Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system. This system is designed to enable attorneys to submit case documents for filing over the Internet, as well as to receive notices and documents regarding case activity from the Court or other attorneys in the case.
The media and the public can also 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 that allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal courts via the Internet. The PACER system offers an inexpensive, fast, and comprehensive case information service to any individual with a personal computer and Internet access. The data is displayed directly on your personal computer screen within a few seconds. The system is simple enough that little user training or documentation is required.
Electronic access to case information through the PACER system is available by registering with the PACER Service Center. PACER is a service of the United States judiciary. Registering for PACER is free; however, please consult the PACER Service Center for its usage fee policy. To access case and docket information and documents on PACER, you must have your PACER login and password and the case number.
As an alternative to PACER, the original case file may be viewed at the Court’s Records Department. The case file, other than documents filed under seal, may be viewed by members of the media and the public but cannot be removed from the Records Department. Please be aware that the original case file for viewing in the Records Department will not include documents that have been filed electronically. For criminal cases, the original case file will not include documents filed after January 1, 2007. For civil cases, the original case file will not include documents filed after January 1, 2008.
As an alternative to PACER, the electronic records of pending civil and criminal non-sealed cases may be viewed, at no charge, at public terminals in the Records Department of any division.
As mandated by the Judicial Conference of the United States, there is a charge for copies, certifications, and exemplifications. Case files and dockets may be obtained unless the requested material is 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 correct Court division in which the file is located and the district judge and magistrate judge before whom the matter is pending. To identify which Court division maintains the case file, refer to the prefix of the case number as follows:
Western Division (Los Angeles, prefix 02)
Southern Division (Santa Ana, prefix 08)
Eastern Division (Riverside, prefix 05)
For example, 02:01-0003 ABC (DEx) means that a civil case was filed in Los Angeles in 2001, the case number is 01-0003, the judge assigned to the case has the initials ABC, and the magistrate judge assigned to the case has the initials DE.
Information regarding a specific case, trial, or hearing can be obtained from PACER.
The clerk’s office has designated Room 455, located on the fourth floor of the Spring Street Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, and Room 1-115, located on the first floor of the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana, 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.
There are places to obtain food and drink on the Main Street level and the 4th floor of the Spring Street Courthouse, the 1st floor of the Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse, and the 3rd floor of the Santa Ana Courthouse. Vending machines are available at the Riverside Courthouse.
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.
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.
Interviewing witnesses after a Court hearing or trial is prohibited in the areas specified in Local Civil Rule 83-6.
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. Pagers 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 pocket knives), 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. Cellular phones and all notification sounds and tones must be turned off/rendered inoperative while in the courtroom. 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.
In accordance with Local Civil 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 Civil 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. (As an exception, short-circuit broadcasting to an adjoining courtroom to accommodate additional observers is permitted.) 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 made 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 that is located in the file.
When the judge issues an injunction order or other type of non-sealed order and the media is requesting an immediate copy, the District Court Executive or the designated liaison will make the necessary arrangements for the media to obtain a copy through CM/ECF Media Access. To use the CM/ECF Media Access service, you must first register for the service. (See below.) 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.
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 is not to contact the judge’s chambers or the courtroom deputy clerk to obtain a copy of the order.
Members of the media can sign up to receive automatic e-mail notifications of electronic filings made in specific civil and criminal cases through the CM/ECF Media Access service. Each such Notification of Electronic Filing (NEF) includes a hyperlink to the non-sealed, electronically filed document. Registered media members can add or remove specific civil and criminal non-sealed cases to their account at any time. Media members must select between receiving daily summary NEF e-mails that are sent at midnight or individual NEF e-mails that are sent when each document is filed.
To register for this service, a completed CM/ECF Media Access Application must be submitted to MediaAccess@cacd.uscourts.gov. A press credential must be provided with the application, and applications received without proof of press credentials will not be processed. Registered media members are responsible for updating their individual e-mail address when it changes. If an NEF is returned undeliverable, the e-mail address will be removed from the account.
For questions concerning this service, call 213-894-0088 or e-mail MediaAccess@cacd.uscourts.gov.