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Courthouse

From Academic Kids

In most counties in the United States the local trial courts conduct their business in a centrally located courthouse which may also house county governmental offices. The courthouse is usually located in the county seat, although large metropolitan counties may have satellite or annex offices for their courts.

Marion County Courthouse, Salem, Oregon
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Marion County Courthouse, Salem, Oregon
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Lasvegascourthouse.jpg
Federal courthouse, Las Vegas, Nevada

In some cases this building may be renamed in some way or its function divided as between a judicial building and administrative office building. Many judges also officiate at civil marriage ceremonies in their courthouse chambers.

Each United States district court also has a federally-owned building where its courtrooms, chambers and clerk's offices are located. Many federal judicial districts are further divided into divisions, which may also have their own courthouses, although sometimes the smaller divisional court facilties are located in buildings that also house other agencies or offices of the United States government.

The courthouse is part of the iconography of American life and is often shown in movies.

Because Americans have a strong tradition of firearm ownership, and dissatisfied litigants sometimes resort to violence, courthouses in American cities often have security checkpoints where all incoming persons are searched for weapons. After the Oklahoma City bombing, the federal government proceeded to heavily fortify all large federal buildings, including many urban courthouses.

Some courthouses in areas with high levels of violent crime have redundant layers of security. For example, when the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments at its branch courtroom in Los Angeles, visitors must pass through one security checkpoint to enter the building, and another to enter the courtroom.

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