United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Phyllis J. Hamilton, Chief Judge

Susan Y. Soong, Clerk of Court

Court Rules Affecting The Media

All parties entering any federal building must show a government-issued picture ID and must pass through a security screening device. Acceptable forms of identification include official state or United States government identification such as a driver's license or passport. The only acceptable international identification is a government-issued passport with a current United States visa.

Photography, audio and video recording and broadcasting of proceedings is prohibited. General Order No. 58 (.pdf) regulates possession and use of electronic devices in the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In addition, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 53 bars photography and broadcasting in criminal proceedings. Broadcasting of proceedings is prohibited by policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States. This encompasses the use of all audio or video recording devices of any kind. As an exception, the court has specifically permitted short circuit broadcasting to an adjoining courtroom and to the court's Media Center to accommodate additional observers and members of the media

Court security personnel screen all electronic devices and cameras before permitting them into the courthouse and may bar any item that appears to pose a threat to security or safety. Subject to this screening, electronic devices may be brought into the courthouse and may be used in a non-disruptive manner. With the exception of laptops, PDAs/smartphones or their equivalent used by counsel during and in connection with judicial proceedings, no electronic device may be used in any courtroom without advance express permission from the assigned judge. As a general rule, media use of laptops or PDAs/smartphones for note taking and to transmit wirelessly to editors will be allowed only by order of the assigned judge. Unless otherwise authorized by the judge, cell phones, pagers and other devices may NOT be used and must be turned off or set to vibrate mode in the courtroom. Silent use of a wireless card to transmit from the courtroom is permitted. Cell phones may be used in the hallways outside the courtrooms and other public areas. A public phone is available on the second floor of the federal building.

Photography and interviews are permitted outside the building and in the Media Center only. Unless a specific area is officially designated by the United States Marshals Service for photography inside the building, cameras may not be used in the federal building. No cabling is permitted in the federal building.

Proper decorum is expected of all visitors to the federal building and the court.

Violation of these rules may result in the immediate loss of press credentials, a finding of contempt of court and/or other sanctions.