U.S. Courts Design Guide
robing rooms, and judges' chambers suites. For court proceedings, the judges move
from their chambers to the judges' conference room, then through the robing room to
The Circuit Executive's Office must have restricted access to judges' chambers and
the USCA Circuit Clerk's Office. Since the Circuit Executive's Office often has little
contact with the public, the level of public access should be coordinated with each
The Office of the Staff Attorney must be located off of a restricted corridor, adjacent
to both the USCA Clerk's Office and the central court library, and with easy access to
judges' chambers, if possible.
U.S. District Court. The USDC conducts jury trials for both civil and criminal cases
and other court proceedings. The court requires public, restricted, and secure
circulation patterns. For an overview of the USDC's circulation and adjacency
patterns, see Figure 3.2 at the beginning of the chapter.
The activities of the USDC focus on the courtroom. The courtroom requires direct
access from public, restricted, and secure circulation. Ancillary spaces located near the
district courtroom include: attorney/witness conference rooms accessed from public
circulation; judge's conference/robing room (provided only if the judges' chambers are
not located close to the courtroom) accessed from restricted circulation; trial jury suite
accessed directly from the courtroom or restricted circulation; and prisoner holding
cells accessed from secure circulation.
Jury assembly facilities must be located on a main public entry floor, preferably close
to the USDC Clerk's Office. The facilities must have controlled entry and provide
convenient movement of jurors to and from courtrooms.
Trial jury suites should be located near all trial courtrooms. The suites are accessed
through restricted circulation corridors.
The grand jury suite should be located near an Office of the U.S. Attorney, as that
office is responsible for presenting evidence to and obtaining indictments from the
grand jury. Grand jurors enter the suite through restricted circulation from a
The U.S. Probation Office requires access from public circulation after the security
screening area in the lobby. If the office operates during off-hours, separate controlled
off-hours access is desirable.
The Pretrial Services Office also requires access from public circulation after the
security screening area in the lobby. In addition, the office requires restricted access to
the USMS and magistrate judge courtrooms.
The Federal Defender's main office is generally located outside the courthouse, with a
small trial prep area inside the courthouse. Since the Federal Defender's Office
essentially functions as an independent law office, it must be readily accessible after
normal working hours. Whether inside the courthouse or not, the office must be