How is a courtroom organized?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Short answer: It depends on the courtroom. (Sorry!)

    Long answer:

    In California state courts, at least the ones I've been in, the judge sits at an elevated desk. There is a seal of the state of California mounted above the judge.

    In front of the judge sits (usually) his or her clerk (who does scheduling for the judge and deals with the files for the matters before the judge). There's also a court reporter transcribing the proceedings.

    There's a table for the witness next to the judge. The witness sits at an elevated level, but not as high as the judge. The witness box is on the side of the courtroom that the jury box is on.

    There are (in state court anyway), two tables -- one for the prosecution or plaintiff side, and one for the defense side. The prosecution side sits on the side that the jury is on (as they carry the burden of proof and present their case to the jury ... and it also makes it easier for the jury to watch the defendant during the trial).

    There's a jury box filled with 14-20 seats for the jurors. It's cordoned off. The seats are usually decent -- comfortable for long sitting, but incapable of reclining or being moved around (of course, courtrooms vary).

    There's a barrier between the courtroom and the gallery. Usually there are chairs on the "court" side of the barrier for attorneys. There's also at least one bailiff, usually more.

    Attorneys sit at the tables with their clients. There's usually a microphone, but it's good practice to stand and project when speaking before the court.

    In federal court, there's a central podium that both sides share while speaking; argument doesn't happen from the table, but from the podium.

    Most courts now have pretty-decent A/V systems.

    Court proceedings are (usually) public; so you're always entitled to go to the courthouse and watch the proceedings. Proceedings can be heated and interesting, but are usually pretty boring; lots of jargon and procedural issues, little stuff of substance.

    When criminal matters are heard, it's common for in-custody prisoners to be present. They'll be shacked and wearing inmate garb.

    Hope this helps!

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  • 1 decade ago

    Plaintiff (person bringing the law suit) and his/her attorney usually sits on the right facing the judge, defendant on the left. There is a railing between the court parties and the audiance, only attorneys and court parities and witnesses when called may be on the judge side of the rail or "bar."

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well each court room is different. Most often you have one thief on the left and one thief on the right and the head thief in the middle.

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