Getting to the courtroom on time

April 2007
By Judge John Wittmayer, Multnomah County Circuit Court

With increased security in the courthouse lobby, lawyers, clients and witnesses often do not realize how long it actually takes to get into the courthouse. This is particularly a problem at 8:30 or 9 each morning and at 1:30 each afternoon, when the lines to go through security are very long.

And, although you may be aware of the problem yourselves and you get to court on time, your clients and witnesses are often delayed because of the long lines waiting to get through security. This often results in delays getting started with your hearing or trial. On the criminal side, bench warrants are frequently issued for your clients when they do not appear on time. Many of these problems would be avoided if you would tell your clients and witnesses they should expect long lines and delays getting into the courthouse and they should allow extra time to be sure to get to the courtroom on time.

You should also tell your clients and witnesses that the entire security checkpoint process would move more quickly if everyone minimized the amount of metal jewelry, accessories and carry-through items they bring or wear to the courthouse.