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National Center for Judicial Security

What To Expect When Visiting a Courthouse

The moment you enter the building that houses a Federal court, you become aware of the security measures in place. Near the building entrance, or in Federal Buildings with multiple tenants near the entrance to the courtrooms, you will pass through a screening station. This station is staffed by Court Security Officers (CSOs). You can expect the Court Security Officers to check the contents of your purse or briefcase by passing them through an X-ray machine. You can also expect to be required to walk through some form of metal detection equipment. Should you have prohibited items on your person or in the items you brought with you, they will be identified in this screening process.

Obviously, weapons are prohibited in any Federal court facility. This includes firearms of any type as well as knives. In addition, photography and video or audio recording of court proceedings is not permitted, so don’t bring your camera or tape recorder into court. Other items that would be disruptive to court proceedings are also banned. This may include pagers and cell phones. If you have any of these items with you upon entering a court facility, you may be refused admittance until you are able to remove these items from your possession. Generally, the facility will not have storage space available, so you may be required to leave the court in order to store prohibited items at an off site location. After you have cleared the screening station, you will be permitted to proceed to the courtroom to view the trial or hearing.

The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA)  

All USMS facilities are leased through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). 

GSA is committed to implementing the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 (ABA).  

The ABA was enacted by Congress in 1968 requires accessibility in all Federal Government owned and leased buildings and facilities, and also, buildings and facilities constructed, altered or leased with certain Federal grants and loans.  

The ABA standards and guidance is governed the U.S. Access Board.  

It is GSA’s policy to make all Federal buildings accessible for persons with disabilities in accordance with guidance set by the U.S. Access Board.  

Information about the U.S. Access Board can be found at:  

To File an ABA Complaint:

1. Online ABA Complaint Form recommended can be found here: 

2.  E-mail:

3.  Fax: 202-272-0081

4.  Mail: U.S. Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004
Complaints cannot be filed by phone, but if you are unable to file online or by e-mail due to a disability, call 202-272-0050 (voice).