Information for Journalists
Information on Observing Court Hearings held by Videoconference
During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Please review the court’s guidance on observing court proceedings by videoconference.
All journalists are asked to review the important information on this page.
- The court is committed to facilitating access to court dockets, documents and proceedings for journalists.
- Neither the court’s public information staff nor individual judges will comment on individual cases. Such inquiries should be directed to attorneys in the case. Attorneys are listed on the case docket.
- The court no longer issues news releases containing court-related news; rather, court news is posted in the “Notices” section of the court’s homepage.
- Journalists are expected to learn and abide by the court’s policies on contacting the court and on the use of electronic devices in the courthouse, available on this page.
Contacting the Court
Journalists should not contact the assigned judge’s courtroom deputy, docket clerk or chambers directly for any reason. A wealth of information is available on the court’s website and journalists are expected to make their best efforts to obtain answers to their questions by reviewing the pertinent web pages.
Journalists should contact the Media Liaison with all other questions concerning court proceedings and documents and interview requests for judges. Email is the preferred method of contact.
Court Rules Affecting The Media
The court has strict rules governing the use of electronic devices in the courthouse, photography and audio and video recording. All journalists planning to cover a proceeding in this court are expected to review these rules. View more about court rules affecting the media.
Resources for Journalists
- Courthouse resources and facilities for journalists
- Obtaining information about cases (PACER and NEFs)
- Obtaining Free Court Orders from GovInfo.gov
- Court rules affecting the media (cameras/electronic devices/photography)
- Requesting a recording: Cameras in the Courtroom Pilot
- Obtaining transcripts & audio recordings
- Accessing records in closed and archived cases
How can I find documents and other information in a particular case?
If you just need a single document or docket sheet, you may request it from the Media Liaison. The best way to do so is by email. Include the case number and/or case name, and the date the document was filed. If you do not have this information, call the Media Liaison for assistance.
For longer-term access to a case, you should register for PACER and CM/ECF access and sign up to receive Notifications of Electronic Filing (NEFs) for the case(s) you are following. View detailed information about registering.
Reasoned opinions are also available free of charge under the E-Government Act.
I'm planning to attend a high-profile hearing. Do I need to do anything special to be sure I get a seat?
I've heard there is a hearing on a particular date and time. How can I confirm that it's still on calendar?
TIP: the letters at the end of the case number are the judge’s initials. Search for these initials on the list of judges’ calendars to identify the judge in the case, then open that judge’s calendar.
Where can I get general information about federal courts?
May I attend a proceeding that is held telephonically?
Can I sign up to receive email bulletins about the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California?
Can I get a booking photo/"mug shot" of an arrested individual?
Can I arrange to bring TV cameras into the courtroom to film a court proceeding?
During high-profile proceedings in which the Media Center in the San Francisco Courthouse is open, camera crews may bring their equipment into the Media Center while the proceeding is in progress. No recording or photography of the live feed is allowed.