U.S. Courts Design Guide
The station must have controls to dim the light; adjust the sound, TV, and
projection equipment; and, in appellate courtrooms, operate the clock/timing
The courtroom deputy clerk station has a microphone connected to the courtroom's
amplification/audio recording system and an intercom or phone (with a flashing
indicator instead of a bell). The intercom or phone must be connected to the USMS
Command and Control Center and central Clerk's Office.
Witness Box (USDC and USBC). Witnesses must be able to see and hear, and be
seen and heard by all court participants as close to full face as possible. The
witness box must accommodate one witness and an interpreter, and satisfy the
preferences of the presiding judge. Witnesses in the box receive, examine, and
return exhibits. For this purpose, a deep, fixed shelf must be part of the witness box
design. The witness box may be movable to accommodate different types of
proceedings and preferences of the presiding judge. The floor level of the witness
box must be two steps above floor level (12 inches or 300 mm).
The witness' chair should be a fixed swivel chair, movable along a floor track, or
retractable. To prevent the chair from sliding off the edge of the step leading up to
the witness box, the box must have a subtle ridge at the step.
The witness box must be handicap accessible. Sufficient floor space and vertical
clearance must be provided to maneuver a wheelchair and allow witnesses and
interpreters with disabilities to assume the same position as all other witnesses and
interpreters. The access route to the witness box should be the same for all persons.
Access should be provided by a wheelchair lift, designed into the witness box, with
the lift platform possibly serving as the floor of the witness box when not in
operation. Controls for the wheelchair lift shall be located to allow full operation by
the disabled person. A demountable ramp may be used in lieu of a lift for moveable
witness boxes with a one-step (6 inches or 150 mm) rise; however, the ramp must
be in place throughout the trial. See ADAAG and UFAS for detailed accessibility
Interpreter(s) must be seated next to or slightly behind the witness and between the
witness and the judge; however, the witness must remain the primary focus.
The interpreter chair should be movable and provided only when needed. A
separate interpreter station, accommodating two staff persons, might be required in
The witness box must be equipped with a microphone connected to the courtroom's
amplification/audio recording system. Amplification of testimony is especially
important to the court reporter/recorder. The interpreter also requires a microphone
connected to the courtroom's amplification/audio recording system.