Chapter 4: Courtrooms
view as much as possible; exposed wiring presents a tripping hazard and detracts
from the courtroom decor.
Present and future needs for power and data cabling should be accommodated at
each counsel table. For example, if the court adopts real-time court reporting, each
counsel table should be provided with a monitor linked to the court reporter's
equipment. By permission of the judge, attorneys may use portable computers at or
next to counsel tables.
Lectern. A movable, height-adjustable lectern must be provided for attorneys.
Lectern controls must be located within the range of motion of persons with
disabilities. A person with a disability must be able to approach and use the lectern
in the same manner as other persons. In USCA courtrooms, the lectern may be
fixed and must incorporate a clock/timer to notify attorneys of the time remaining
The lectern must have a microphone connected to the courtroom's
amplification/audio recording system. The lectern should incorporate task lighting.
Spectator Area. The public has the right to attend most court proceedings and
must be able to see and hear all participants as clearly as possible without
In a trial courtroom, the size of the spectator area depends to a large extent upon
the number of prospective jurors brought into the courtroom during jury selection.
Benches or fixed chairs must be provided. Wheelchair space must be provided in
the spectator area in accordance with ADAAG, Sections 4.1.3(19) and 11.2.1(3), by
providing the following minimums: one space for areas accommodating 25 or fewer
spectators, two spaces for areas accommodating 26 to 50 spectators, and four
spaces for areas accommodating 51 to 300 spectators. When more than two spaces
are required, the spaces should be located in more than one row.
For controversial and high-security trials, spectators entering the courtroom will be
subject to additional screening. Therefore, accommodation for equipment to detect
firearms, bombs, and other weapons should be made at the entrance to the spectator
area from the public lobby.
A rail divides the well and spectator area. The rail must have a handicap accessible
gate, at least 32 inches (815 mm) wide, to admit attorneys, witnesses, USMS
personnel, and other authorized persons into the well. This rail is optional in USBC
Displays. A wall-mounted writing/display/projection surface, easily viewed by all
court participants and spectators, should be provided and may be built into a wall
in the courtroom. The surface should be easily accessible to the witness.