Wednesday, October 17, 2018


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.

General Information

Courtrooms generally are open to the public, so journalists do not need special credentials, other than government-issued photo identification – such as a driver's license – to get into U.S. District Court facilities in the Eastern District of Michigan (MIED).

However, court-issued media credentials are required to enter any MIED courthouse with a cell phone or to reserve a seat in high profile court hearings or trials that will attract a large number of journalists. (See application information below)

Rules for Cell Phones, Laptops, Digital Notebooks, Cameras and Tape Recorders

Journalists who have obtained a court-issued credential to enter MIED courthouses with a cell phone must keep the device muted while in the courthouse and may not use it to take photographs or record sounds or images without the permission of a judicial officer pursuant to Local Rule 83.32. Cell phones are not permitted in courtrooms without the permission of the presiding judge. They may be used and stored only in designated areas.

Laptop computers, electronic tablets or similar computing devices are permitted in MIED courthouses without court-issued credentials, but that equipment may not be used in any courtroom without the written approval of the presiding judge pursuant to Local Rule 83.32. Journalists may use those devices in the Media Center of the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit and designated areas at divisional courthouses in Ann Arbor, Bay City, Flint and Port Huron. (See application information below)

Cameras, tape recorders or similar devices are prohibited in MIED courthouses without the permission of a judge. Those devices may not be used in any courtroom or judicial proceeding without the permission of a judge, pursuant to Local Rule 83.31(c)

On rare occasions, a judge may authorize, by written notice to the United States Marshal, the use of recording equipment for investiture, ceremonial and naturalization proceedings.

Application for Cell Phone Credentials

Click this link to open Application for Media Cell Phone Credential

Click this link to open Rules Governing Cell Phone Usage

Click this link to open Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics

Click this link to open Designated Areas Where Journalists May Use and Store Cell Phones

Application for Reserve Seating Credentials

Click this link to open Media Protocol for High Profile Cases

Click this link to open Application for Reserved Seating Credentials for High Profile Cases

Media Center

The Media Center at the Levin Courthouse in Detroit occupies Rooms 212 and 214. Room 214 is equipped with large screen television monitors to observe proceedings in selected cases, Wi-Fi to transmit stories and digital lockers for storage of personal items. In April 2018, the Media Center will be moved temporarily to Room 471.

Court Records

Most court records are in electronic format, so the most convenient way for journalists to obtain them is through the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) database. PACER may 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

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

A Journalist's Guide to the Federal Courts

For More Information

Contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 313-226-9100 for information about criminal arraignments and appearances.

Contact David Ashenfelter, the Court’s Public Information Officer, about other court matters. He may be reached at (313) 234-5421 or David_Ashenfelter@mied.uscourts.gov.