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Media Information

Media Information

In addition to the general information provided below, media representatives are directed to Administrative Order No. 322 regarding Media Access. The following information is designed to assist media representatives covering cases or developments in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The Court is committed to facilitating access and information regarding public Court developments and proceedings.

Media representatives are advised that a judge presiding over a particular case is fully responsible for the proceedings in his or her courtroom, and the media is expected to comply with any terms the presiding judge may specify. Pursuant to SDIL-LR 83.6, a presiding judge may enter a special-order regarding seating and conduct of news media representatives. Accordingly, specific information and/or procedures concerning a certain case may be issued or implemented by the judge presiding over the matter. In the event such orders are entered, a copy will be posted through PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), and included below under Cases of Interest.

Judges and court staff will not comment on individual cases. Such inquiries should be directed to attorneys in the case as listed on the case docket.

Media Information Inquiries

Any inquiries regarding media access should be directed to All media access inquiries should include: (1) the media representative’s name; (2) the media representative’s contact information, including the media outlet they work for; and (3) the entirety of their inquiry.

Media Credentials

Subject to special orders that may be entered by a presiding judge, courtrooms are generally open to the public. Thus, media representatives do not require special credentials, other than government-issued photo identification, to enter either courthouse in the Southern District of Illinois.

However, as detailed in Administrative Order No. 322, court-issued media credentials are required to enter either courthouse with a laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone. Nonverbal use of the electronic devices in courtrooms, such as typing, shall be permitted by credentialled media provided it is silent and does not create a disturbance, subject to the discretion of the presiding judge.

Media representatives must be aware that pursuant to Judicial Conference policy, SDIL-LR 83.5, and Administrative Order No. 322, photographs, video, and audio recordings of any proceedings by the media are strictly prohibited. Any violation of this policy may result in the banning of all laptops and tablets, the imposition of contempt sanctions against the violator individually, and, if attending in the capacity of an employee or agent, against the employer or principal. Additionally, media representatives who violate this policy will be prohibited from entering the courthouse with electronic devices in the future.

Media representatives who wish to be included on the credentialed media list must complete and sign the  Media Access Agreement form. Completed forms may emailed to An email notification will be sent once your agreement has been processed.

Media Seating for High Profile Cases

In the event a special order is entered regarding media seating and conduct in high profile or widely publicized cases, a presiding judge may restrict or limit courtroom media access for security purposes or otherwise.

If media representatives are not able to observe from inside the courtroom, they may be able to sit in a designated overflow area if one is needed and/or available.

Media representatives are again directed to review any applicable special orders for specific guidance.

Any questions regarding media seating in high profile cases should be directed to

Court Records

As most court records are in electronic format, the most convenient way for the media to obtain them is through the PACER 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

The Court also provides an RSS feed to recent docket entries through PACER on its main CM/ECF page under “Court Information.” Note that standard PACER charges apply, and you must have an RSS feed reader installed to properly view the entries.

Covering Federal Court

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has prepared the following publications as an introduction to the federal judicial system for media representatives:

Understanding Federal Courts

Journalist's Guide to Federal Courts

Ordering Transcripts

Information on how to order transcripts, is available here:

Court Opinions

Information on how to access Written Opinions is located here: