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Public and Media Access to Court Proceedings during COVID-19 Emergency


Re: Availability of Public Access Line to Listen to Court Proceedings

The public access line is generally used for court proceedings in which the lawyers and their clients are participating remotely using video and/or teleconferencing technology and are not physically present in the courtroom.  For in-person court proceedings, the presiding judge may, but is not required to, make the public access line available. 

Due to the continuing COVID-19 public health emergency, court hearings in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia are being conducted either by teleconference or videoconference until at least June 1, 2020.  See Standing Order 20-19.  To ensure continued access to court proceedings, under authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES ACT”), the public and media may listen to teleconference and videoconference hearings, free of charge, by dialing into the teleconference number for the presiding judge provided at: COVID-19 EMERGENCY PUBLIC ACCESS TELECONFERENCE INFORMATION FOR JUDGES.  Further instructions are provided below.

Instructions to Listen Telephonically

  1. Check the court calendar, at, or the PACER docket of the case for the hearing you would like to listen to.
  2. Check COVID-19 EMERGENCY PUBLIC ACCESS TELECONFERENCE INFORMATION FOR JUDGES for the dial-in and access code for the Judge presiding at the hearing.

  3. Prior to the start time of the hearing, dial the public access teleconference number for the presiding Judge and enter the access code when prompted, followed by the pound (#) sign.  Due to technical limits on the number of dial-in listeners who may be accommodated, you may wish to establish your connection at least 10 minutes early to ensure access.

  4. Wait for the hearing to begin.  You will be automatically muted and will not be heard by the Judge or participants in the hearing.

REMINDER: Persons remotely accessing court proceedings are reminded of the general prohibition against photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings (including those held by telephone or videoconference).  See Standing Order 20-20.  Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions, including removal of court-issued media credentials, restricted entry to future hearings, denial of entry to future hearings, or any other sanctions deemed necessary by the presiding Judge.