Monday, June 17, 2019

Yikes, armed security!

You made it to the courthouse with most of your frayed nerves intact, and you still have an entire five minutes to find the right courtroom.  Congratulations!

Except … what's this long line outside?

Los Angeles DMV 1940
This is a DMV office.  Thankfully, the line outside the courthouse will USUALLY not be this long [except, of course, on the day that YOU have to be there].

Denver Colorado International Airport
This is the Denver airport.  At least these people get to wait INSIDE.

Several years ago when I had my first court hearing in the Santa Barbara courthouse, it did not have any type of security checkpoint.  I walked right in.  At first I thought I was in the wrong place, because I'd NEVER been to a courthouse without a security checkpoint.  I thought maybe I'd made a wrong turn and ended up at city hall or something.  But nope, this was the courthouse.  And it was a beauty.

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Someone recently told me that Santa Barbara now has a security checkpoint.  But I still have the memories.

Nowadays, especially in larger cities and counties, you're guaranteed to be confronted with a security checkpoint, and the long lines it creates.  There's even a metal detector at Disneyland.

Disneyland main entrance
Bring with you: your driver's license or other ID [and for federal court, it must be a federally accepted ID], and a paper which indicates why you're in court [jury summons, case document including the case number and courtroom].  Your ID will get you inside the building.  The paperwork will remind you why you're there and help you find the courtroom.

More on what to bring in a future post.

Do NOT bring with you:  anything that might remotely be used as or considered a weapon, including aerosol spray, pepper spray, scissors, long metal knitting needles, nail clippers longer than about one inch, cigarette lighters, chains including wallet chains, large flashlights, sporting equipment, and (obviously) firearms, even if they're fake [finger guns are okay except don't show them while going through the security checkpoint].

Leave this in your pocket while going thru security
Animals except for service animals.  Alcohol or illegal drugs.  Glass containers.  Handcuffs.  Laser pointers.  It's a long list.  Each county usually has its own specialized list which you should look up online before you leave your house.  Here's the one for Los Angeles.

If security finds anything they don't like, you'll have to take it back to your car, which may be six blocks away.  In the rain.  Or if you're lucky [not lucky], snow.  And right now your legs are sore and your shoes pinch and your hearing starts in less than five minutes.  Option two is to throw the offending item in the trash can.  Sometimes it's worth choosing option two.

Federal courthouses are usually much more strict than state courthouses, but no matter where you are, prepare yourself for a TSA-like screening so you're not surprised.

Columbus airport
ALL personal property (usually including your belt, watch, shoes, and jacket) goes into a tray to run through the x-ray machine.  Then you walk in your socks on the cold floor through the metal detector.  [In the summer, this usually feels REALLY good.  In the winter, not so much.]  Allow extra time if you have a cane, walker, wheelchair, stroller, pacemaker, or prosthetic body part.  Those usually require a separate hand-screening or wanding process.

After successfully navigating the security checkpoint, collect all your personal property and get dressed again.

Fortunately, this step is no longer fashionable
In the comments, tell me about your most interesting experience with any type of security checkpoint.

Next week:  you made it inside.  Now where do you go?

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