Information For Media
Media Information Officer
The Court's media liaison is Public Information Officer David Ashenfelter, who can be reached at (313) 234-5421 or David_Ashenfelter@mied.uscourts.gov.
Courtrooms generally are open to the public, so journalists don't need any special credentials, other than government-issued photo identification - such as a driver's license - to get into federal U.S. District Courthouses in the Eastern District of Michigan. Journalists may be asked to produce a media credential issued by their employer to enter the courthouses with a laptop computer.
In high profile cases that are likely to attract large numbers of journalists, special court-issued media credentials are required to get a reserved seat in courtrooms or the media center in the Levin Courthouse. Court proceedings are live-streamed onto large television monitors in the media center enabling journalists to take notes and file stories with laptop computers via courthouse Wi-Fi. Laptop computers are not allowed in courtrooms. To cover cases at the Ann Arbor, Bay City, Flint or Port Huron courthouses with a laptop computer, contact the Court's Public Information Officer, David Ashenfelter, at 313-234-5421 or David_Ashenfelter@mied.uscourts.gov.
Click this link to view the Media Protocol for Coverage of High Profile Cases
Application For Media Credentials
Click this link to open the Application for Media Credentials
Access to Court Records
Most court records are in electronic format, so the most convenient way for the media to obtain information from them is through the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) database. It can be accessed at the Clerk's Office or by opening a PACER account. To open a PACER account, contact the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 or go to https://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/pscof/regWizard.jsf.
Court employees are prohibited from publicly commenting about matters before the Court.
The Court's media center occupies Rooms 212 and 214 of the Levin Courthouse courthouse. Journalists may use both rooms to file stories by laptop computer -- or by telephone if they have a land line installed at their own expense. Media companies may bring in a small filing cabinet (preferably with a lock) and have a phone line installed in Room 212 by contacting Court Services (313) 234-5055 to make the necessary arrangements.
Covering Federal Court
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has developed the following publications to introduce the media to the federal judicial system.
Understanding the Federal Courts
It provides an introduction to the federal judicial system, its organization and administration, and its relationship to the legislative and executive branches of the government.
A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts
It helps reporters understand how to cover federal district, bankruptcy, and appellate court, as well as the cases, the people and the process.
Media Frequently Asked Questions
- Are cameras and recording equipment allowed in the courthouse?
Recording equipment is not permitted in the courthouse unless otherwise ordered by a judge. E.D. Mich. LR 83.31(c) prohibits the use of cameras or any recording devices for radio, television, Internet, or other means in all courtrooms and any judicial proceeding.
On rare occasions, a district judge may authorize, by written notice to the United States Marshal, the use of recording equipment for investiture, ceremonial, and naturalization proceedings.
- Are laptop computers allowed in federal court facilities?
Laptop computers are permitted in federal court facilities, but may not be used in any courtroom without written approval of the appropriate judicial officer. Journalists may use laptops in the media room at the Levin Courthouse.
- Are cellular phones, pagers and beepers permitted in the courthouse?
Cellular phones are not permitted in the courthouse by non-attorneys. Pagers and beepers are allowed, but must be programmed to an inaudible mode.
- Who should be contacted regarding questions about arraignments?
Information, requests or questions about arraignments are handled by the United States Attorney's Office at (313) 226-9100.
- Who should be contacted for additional information?
David Ashenfelter, the Court’s Public Information Officer, serves as liaison between the media and the Court. He may be reached at (313) 234-5421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.