Press Policy

It is the policy of the Clerk's Office to maintain a professional, courteous relationship with the press and to respond to their inquiries promptly. Requests for information from the public or parties may also fall within the scope of this policy. This policy will be implemented as follows:

1. All inquiries for statements or release of information shall be referred to the Clerk and, if the Clerk is not available, to the Chief Deputy. However, if a response can be given to a press inquiry by reading from a docket report or an unsealed document in a case file, the deputy clerk/case manager may do so and the inquiry does not have to be referred to the Clerk or Chief Deputy. The deputy clerk/case manager should never respond with interpretations of court orders or party filings or otherwise offer opinions.

2. The judges in this judicial district do not publicly comment on or participate in interviews with the media regarding a matter that is presently pending or may come before them for resolution, which would certainly include interviews about a case over which the judge is currently presiding. Nor do they accommodate general requests from the media for an interview or comment on non-case related matters. They may in their discretion, however, respond to or comment on a specific inquiry that is not case related. Any such request should a) be made in writing, b) state the purpose and subject matter of the requested interview, and c) be directed to the Clerk who will respond to the inquiry.

3. The judges in this district do not authorize court personnel to release personal or biographical information or photographs to the media or public beyond the information available on the court's public website. The following are public records and may be disclosed upon request: a judicial officer's salary and the date a judicial officer took the Oath of Office. It is the policy of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, however, not to release copies of a judicial officer's Appointment Affidavit and Oath of Office.

4. If an inquiry involves a matter that may have security related consequences, the matter shall be immediately brought to the attention of the Clerk or Chief Deputy, who may refer the inquiry to the U.S. Marshal's Service.

5. When an unsealed filing has received significant attention, the deputy clerk/case manager may ask the Clerk or Chief Deputy whether they may make a press copy and have it available at the front counter. Alternatively, the Clerk or Chief Deputy may choose to attach the unsealed filing to a brief news item and make it available free of charge on the homepage of the court's website.

6. In the event of a "high profile case" (one which is expected to or does generate considerable media attention), the deputy clerk/case manager shall notify the Clerk of the filing of same, and the Clerk may consult with the presiding judge to address any issues that may arise, such as press briefings, requests for documents, etc. If appropriate, the Clerk and presiding judge will develop a written procedure for handling the matter and will communicate the procedure to all Clerk's Office staff who will be involved in the handling of documents or telephone calls associated with the matter. Also, the Clerk may publish frequently requested documents, important notices or other informational bulletins on the court's website.

For further information, see A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts.