The Vermont Judiciary is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment for everyone who visits a courthouse. To do so, the Judiciary needs everyone's cooperation.
The moment you enter a courthouse, you will notice the security measures in place. Near the building entrance is a screening station. Court security officers will guide you through the screening process to identify any prohibited items. Please follow their directions. This procedure is for your safety and the safety of everyone in the building. It is not meant to harass or exclude anyone.
When you enter the courthouse, the court security officers will check the contents of your purse, briefcase, or any other bag. They will do this by passing the bag through an X-ray machine or doing a visual inspection. You will also have to go through metal detectors. In order for this to be an efficient process, please:
- Remove jewelry (watches, large earrings, etc.). Place these items in your bags or in the trays provided before you go through the metal detector.
- Remove outerwear and place it in the X-ray bins. This will save you time and prevent you from having to be scanned a second time with a handheld wand.
Weapons are not allowed in any court facility. This includes firearms, weapons, and objects that could be utilized as a weapon, including:
- Glass containers
- Aerosol bottles
- Knitting needles
If you are carrying a prohibited item, you will not be allowed to come into the courthouse. You will need to remove the item from your possession. Most courthouses do not have storage space available. You may need to store a prohibited item at an off-site location, such as your vehicle.
Most hearings and courtrooms are open to the public, but some, such as juvenile cases, are not. Please carefully review all posted signs and follow court staff directions.
If you have any questions, please ask a court security officer or court staff member.
You may bring a cellphone or pager into the courthouse, but you must place it in silent mode.
You cannot take any photographs or videos while in a courthouse unless you are a member of the media.
You may not bring a cellphone or camera into jury rooms during deliberations. These items are subject to a security inspection.
What you will be experiencing in the courtroom is not what you have seen on television or in the movies. If you are going to be part of a hearing, consider watching a hearing or two before your own so you can get a sense of how things work in the courtroom.
- No food, beverages, or chewing gum are permitted inside the courtroom.
- Please stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom.
- Please stand when it is your turn to speak to the judge or magistrate, unless they tell you that you may stay seated.
- When you speak, be polite. Try to be calm. Do your best not to interrupt—you will get your chance to respond.
- Give the court all the information it needs, but keep it brief. It may be helpful to make an outline of what you want to say for your own use. This way, you will be sure you haven’t left anything out.
- Speak loudly enough so that everyone in the courtroom can hear you.
- If you cannot hear what others in the courtroom are saying, let the judge know.
- If you don't understand what is happening, feel free to ask your lawyer or the judge to explain.