Courtroom Etiquette & Information FAQs

Effective March 16, 2020, our FPD operations are open and we are working, but our offices are closed to visitors. Please reach us via telephone at 206.553.1100 or 253.593.6710. We will update you when this changes. 

Federal court is more formal than most state courts. Suits, ties, and other formal wear are not necessary, but shorts, halters, tank tops, any clothing exposing the midriff or underclothing, beachwear, flip-flops, pool shoes, or t-shirts with inappropriate or potentially offensive graphics or words are not recommended.

Yes. Family support is critical when someone is charged with a crime. We strongly encourage family members to attend their loved ones' hearings. However, family and friends may not speak directly to the judge unless they are asked to do so. Family and friends who wish to speak to the judge should let the attorney know in advance of the court hearing that they wish to speak . Audience members who are being disruptive will be asked to leave the courtroom and audience members should do their best not to visibly or audibly react to the courtroom proceedings. Additionally, people entering the courthouse are required to present identification to courthouse security.

Visitors to the courtroom cannot speak with a defendant in custody.

Young children are not prohibited from attending hearings but young children need to be quiet while court is in session. If a child makes noise during the hearing, they should be taken outside of the courtroom . Some topics discussed in court may be inappropriate for young children, so it is also a good idea to speak with the attorney before bringing young children.

Yes. Please remember to turn off your smartphone, tablet, smartwatches, or any other device that makes noise before entering the courtroom. You may be fined by the Court if your electronic device makes noise in the courtroom. Taking photographs or recordings inside the courthouse is prohibited. These rules are strictly enforced by the Court and the U.S. Marshals and taking photographs could result in criminal charges being filed against you.

When you enter the courthouse, you will go through a metal detector. Your handbag, briefcase, backpack, and any containers will be x-rayed, and you will be required to remove your shoes. Weapons of any kind are prohibited and will be confiscated. Security officers may confiscate any items they think are hazardous. If you have forbidden items, you may be asked to leave the courthouse and return without them. You will also be asked to empty any containers containing liquid before entering the courthouse. Food is not allowed in the courthouse. Alcoholic beverages and marijuana are not permitted. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and bringing marijuana to the courthouse could result in criminal charges being filed against you.

Yes, anyone 18 years or older will need to present photo ID to enter the courthouse. Anyone under 18 years of age that wishes to enter the courthouse, needs to be accompanied by a person 18 years or older that has ID.