COURTHOUSE SECURITY POLICY
All individuals entering the Clinton County Courthouse shall be subject to this security policy at all times.
The Clinton County Board of Supervisors seeks to establish an appropriate level of security that minimizes the opportunity for physical violence and/or injury to employees, the public, and anyone conducting business in the Clinton County Courthouse. Responsibility for implementing and enforcing this security policy falls under the guidance of the Board of Supervisors and under the authority of the Clinton County Sheriff pursuant to Iowa Code §§ 331.502(1), 602.1303, and 331.653(4) (2012).
Clinton County does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the admission or access to its services, programs, or activities. For information on accessibility and to request reasonable accommodations at least three (3) days in advance, please contact the Clinton County Board of Supervisors at (563) 244-0575.
Access to the Clinton County Courthouse during non-public hours and within the Courthouse at all times shall be controlled by an access control system.
All individuals entering the Clinton County Courthouse during public hours shall be subject to security screening by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office using a combination of walk-through, handheld and package screening devices. Firearms, knives and personal protection devices are subject to the provisions of Section IV of this policy.
If not otherwise specified in this policy, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office shall establish screening procedures that balance the need for security with the productivity and functional needs of maintenance workers and employees of contractors/businesses hired by Clinton County or the Judicial Branch to conduct work in the building.
Employees of the Clinton County Courthouse shall not be subject to security screening, unless required to do so by their department head, elected official, or the Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial District of Iowa. Attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Iowa who have in their immediate possession a bar membership identification card shall not be subject to regular security screening. Courthouse employees and attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Iowa may also be subject to unannounced random searches of any or all individuals at any time as determined by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office or at the direction of the Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial District of Iowa.
A. West / Parking Lot Access:
1. The west/parking lot entrance shall be open to the general public and shall be staffed as a security screening entrance by Clinton County Sheriff’s Office personnel from 7:30 AM until 4:30 PM, or at all times court is in session, Monday through Friday (except legal holidays common to both County and Judicial Branch employees).
2. The west/parking lot entrance shall be designated as the entrance that is accessible by persons with disabilities and for deliveries to the Courthouse.
B. South Access:
The south entrance is an emergency egress only and shall only be used as a special event entrance as approved by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.
C. East Access:
The east entrance is an emergency egress only and shall only be used as a special event entrance as approved by the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.
The provisions of this section may be modified or suspended to accommodate the lawful activities of participants in judicial matters, e.g., court exhibits. Authorization to bring items restricted by this policy into the Courthouse shall be evaluated and granted/denied on a case-by-case basis by the Clinton County Sheriff. The Sheriff’s Office shall establish a procedure to accommodate such requests and the safe handling of restricted items while within the Courthouse, Courthouse grounds, or parking lot.
A. Firearms, Knives, and Other Weapons:
1. Any unauthorized person who does not have in the person's immediate possession a valid permit to carry weapons and is attempting to enter the Courthouse or is present on the Courthouse grounds or parking lot with a firearm, offensive weapon, dangerous weapon, knife of any size, or explosive device shall be denied access and may be subject to arrest.
2. Any unauthorized person who has in the person's immediate possession a valid permit to carry weapons and is attempting to enter the Courthouse or is present on the Courthouse grounds or parking lot with a firearm, offensive weapon, dangerous weapon, knife of any size, or explosive device shall be required to secure their weapon prior to access or entry.
3. Court security deputies and deputies escorting inmates to court shall be authorized to carry weapons in the Courthouse, Courthouse grounds, and parking lot and shall be armed at all times.
4. Uniformed law enforcement personnel or law enforcement personnel with valid official identification displaying their photograph shall be authorized to carry weapons in the Courthouse, Courthouse grounds, and parking lot.
a. Judges may set additional restrictions governing the possession of weapons by law enforcement personnel within a courtroom.
b. Law enforcement personnel involved as a party in a civil proceeding which is not related to his/her employment as a peace officer shall be subject to the restrictions as outlined in subsections (1) and (2) above.
B. Personal Protection Devices:
1. The provisions of above subsection A(4) shall also apply to the possession of a chemical control agent, electronic control device, or other personal protection device.
2. Unauthorized individuals shall be instructed to secure the chemical control agent, electronic control device, or other personal protection device prior to access or entry.
V. Personal Electronic Devices:
New technologies have facilitated legal research as well as case preparation and presentation. They have also dramatically changed the means and expectations, which people have, in communicating with one another. Many people routinely carry some form of cell phone, smartphone, personal digital assistant, tablet, laptop, or other similar portable wireless communications or computing device (hereinafter collectively referred to as "Personal Electronic Devices"). To maintain the decorum of court proceedings, ensure a fair trial, and protect the rights and safety of court participants in this rapidly changing environment, it is important that courts place appropriate limits on the use of Personal Electronic Devices.
A. Within the Courthouse (Outside Courtrooms):
1. Any person may bring a Personal Electronic Device, subject to inspection and security screening, into the Courthouse.
2. If the Personal Electronic Device contains a phone function, its ring function shall be turned off at all times within the Courthouse. Telephone conversations are permitted but shall not interfere with the efficient functioning of the courts or county offices.
3. If the Personal Electronic Device contains other functionality that emits sound of any kind, it shall be set to provide completely soundless and noiseless (hereinafter "silent") operation at all times within the Courthouse.
4. Persons inside the Courthouse may use a Personal Electronic Device but only if the Personal Electronic Device is silent and operated in a manner that is unobtrusive and does not interfere with the integrity, dignity, and decorum of the Courthouse or the efficient operation of court business.
5. No person shall use a Personal Electronic Device to communicate with any courtroom participant at any time during the course of any proceedings. A "courtroom participant" includes an attorney, litigant, witness, or juror, who is present in the courtroom as part of the conduct of any proceedings.
6. No person shall use a Personal Electronic Device to photograph or otherwise communicate identifying information regarding jurors or witnesses. In addition to any penalties described below, violation of this subsection may result in criminal prosecution.
B. Within the Courtroom:
1. Unauthorized persons must turn off all Personal Electronic Devices before entering a courtroom.
2. Courtroom participants, as defined in above subsection A(5), excluding jurors, shall be authorized to use Personal Electronic Devices. However, if the Personal Electronic Device contains a phone function, its ring function shall be turned off at all times within the courtroom. No telephone conversations are permitted within the courtroom, unless specifically authorized by the presiding judge.
C. Media Coverage:
The Expanded Media Coverage rules found in Chapter 25 of the Iowa Court Rules shall apply to all persons entering the Courthouse. A copy of the full rules may be found at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/IowaLaw/CourtRules.aspx.
Unless otherwise specified in the Iowa Court Rules, members of the media seeking to use Personal Electronic Devices within a courtroom shall submit such requests to the presiding judge. Consistent with Rule 25.4(1) of the Iowa Court Rules, equipment to be used by the media in courtrooms during judicial proceedings must be unobtrusive and must not produce distracting sound.
D. Judicial Discretion:
The presiding judge may restrict or prohibit use of Personal Electronic Devices at any time, if, in their discretion, the use of a Personal Electronic Device is interfering with the administration of justice, the security of a proceeding, or the dignity, decorum, or integrity of the court process.
Persons violating this section may have the use of their Personal Electronic Device restricted, including, but not limited to, being asked to move to another location or having their Personal Electronic Device confiscated. Persons in violation of this section shall also forfeit the privilege of bringing a Personal Electronic Device into the Courthouse or courtroom for the remainder of the proceedings for that particular case. Furthermore, persons in violation of the section may be held in contempt, which could result in a fine or jail time being levied. Finally, the court, in its discretion, may order that any audio recording, photographs, video, or communication made in violation of these rules be destroyed.
Delivery personnel and packages shall be subject to security screening. Delivery vehicles shall be parked in a regular marked parking space. Delivery vehicles too large to fit in a regular marked parking space shall be directed by Courthouse security personnel on where to park. No delivery vehicles shall be allowed to park directly in front of any entrance.
VII. Public and After-Hours Use:
Use of the Courthouse by any entity or organization shall be governed by the Clinton County Building Use Policy.