Chapter 4: Courtrooms
A wireless infrared system must be provided for simultaneous translation. The
system must be integrated with the courtroom's sound system, allowing headphone
amplification of proceedings for hearing-impaired participants, jurors, and
spectators. The system also allows courtroom participants to listen to confidential
tape recordings. For more information regarding wireless systems, see Electronic
Courtroom/Chambers, An Interim Guide to Courtroom Technologies and Guide
Specifications for Modification/Installation of Audio Systems in United States
Courthouses, published by the AOUSC.
When needed, a fully enclosed witness box (with gate access) should be provided to
contain witnesses in custody.
Jury Box (USDC and USBC). Jurors must be able to see, hear, and be seen by the
judge, attorneys, and witnesses. During witness examination, all jurors must be
able to see attorneys, litigants, and witnesses as close to full face as possible. In
addition, there must be a clear line of sight to video evidence presentation monitors,
if placed in the courtroom.
The maximum allowable distance between a juror and a litigant sitting at a counsel
table across the courtroom well is 40 feet (12,200 mm).
If the witness stand is located to one side of an 18-member jury box, two rows of
nine jurors would create a situation where some jurors will be too far from the
Jurors must be separated (six feet or 1825 mm, minimum) from attorneys and
litigants to prevent overhearing private conversations. Supplemental, selectable
sound masking in the jury box should be provided.
Jurors must be separated from the public to avoid interference or intimidation. At
least six feet (1825 mm) of space must separate the jury box and rail dividing the
spectator seating area and courtroom well.
The floor level of the highest tier of the jury box must be at least one step (6 inch or
150 mm) lower than that of the judge's bench.
The front row of the jury box may be raised one step (6 inches or 150 mm) or on
the same floor level as the courtroom well. A raised first row is preferred. If the
first row is one step above the well, a lift or ramp must be provided to allow
unassisted access for jurors with disabilities using the same path as all other jurors.
Gates and openings into the jury box, clear floor space, and vertical clearance
should allow for space to maneuver a wheelchair and for jurors with disabilities to
participate from the same position as all other jurors. The front row may have a
dedicated wheelchair space or a removable chair to provide the necessary space
when needed. See ADAAG and UFAS for detailed accessibility criteria.
The juror seating area must be partially enclosed, with a modesty rail in front of the