Requests for Accommodations
If you have business with the court and require accommodations because of a disability, please contact the court in advance. The court requires notification in advance in order to provide certain accommodations, such as a sign language interpreter. For more information on requesting accommodations and the court’s ADA procedures, please refer to the ADA section of this Website.
Entering the Courthouse
Each entrance has a metal detector and an airport type x-ray machine for screening purposes. All weapons, including pocketknives of all sizes, tear gas, stun guns, scissors, knitting needles, etc., cannot be brought into the courthouse. Even the smallest of these objects will not be allowed. Food and beverages, including water, cannot be brought into the courthouse. Water fountains are located on each floor in the hallways. For more information, please refer to the Court Security section of this Website.
Courtroom Etiquette and Proper Dress
Individuals attending court sessions should dress neatly and appropriately. All electronic devices, such as cellular phones and pagers, must be in silent mode or turned off. Enter the courtroom quickly and quietly. The bailiff will remove individuals who are not quiet while court is in session. No laughing, whispering, giggling, talking, or applauding, nor gum chewing, eating, or drinking is allowed in the courtroom.
Arranging Your Visit to the Courthouse
Self-guided or guided tours may be arranged by contacting the Executive Assistant at (209) 533-5650. Visits may be scheduled Monday through Friday during court hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The courthouse is a public building and you are free to visit many areas. Most courtrooms are available to the public, but some matters may not be suitable for children. Additionally, certain cases are confidential by law and, therefore, are not available for public observation. Proceedings that may be observed include criminal misdemeanors, arraignments, preliminary hearings, sentencing hearings, traffic court, drug court, and jury trials, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
Parking in the downtown area can be limited at times. There is a covered parking structure at the corner of Yaney Avenue and Green Street in the Francisco Building, and the public is welcome to park on the first level. (The second level is restricted to county vehicles only.) There are many parking spaces on the streets around the courthouse, but be mindful that most of them are 2-hour parking. The City of Sonora closely monitors parking, and it is highly likely you will be cited if you leave your vehicle parked longer than the time allowed while you are conducting court business. There are several parking lots with no time limitations located off of West Jackson Street, between Lower Sunset Drive and Norlin Streets.