Can anyone go into a court room and sit in the back seat and just watch? Why or why not?
Courts are open to the public
With the exception of a few court proceedings that are not open to the public (some states, such as the one where I reside (Utah) do not open juvenile court or adoption proceedings to the public, but virtually all other criminal and civil proceedings are open to the public), yes, anyone can walk in to the courtroom and observe public proceedings. The reasons for this are that judges are public servants, the courts are funded by taxpayer dollars, and the administration of justice is a public good that members of the public has a right to oversee. May it ever be so.
Learn how courts work
If you have a court appearance coming up, you’d be wise to go to court beforehand and observe how things work, what kind of approaches succeed and what don’t.
Depending on what kind of case you are a loved one has coming up, you can find one like it on court calendars and then show up at court on the day of the hearing to observe what happens and to take notes.
Does and don’ts
Bear in mind that you cannot bring recording devices like a video camera or an audio recording device with you, but you can bring a pad and paper, or take written notes on your smart phone.
And if you happen to see a particularly good attorney in court and you’re looking for an attorney yourself, don’t be afraid to go up and talk to that attorney after court is over. Most of them would be happy to tell you if they can help you, and if not, who they might recommend instead.
Here are the link for Utah district and appellate courts calendars: https://www.utcourts.gov/cal/
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