Courthouse Experience allows middle and high school students from Maricopa County to witness, firsthand, the important role of an independent judiciary. The program educates students on the court system, careers in the legal field and their responsibility as future jurors.
Drawing by Maya (age 12) during a Courthouse Experience visit.
What to Expect
Through a guided tour, students will have the opportunity to observe court hearings and trials, visit with judicial officers and partake in informative question and answer periods with volunteer attorneys or court personnel. Classes are welcome to attend all different types of hearings and trials if the content is appropriate.
Tours begin roughly at 9 a.m. and conclude at noon.
Upon arrival, classes will meet their assigned volunteer guide on the South Court Tower steps before entering the building and going through security screening. Once inside, the volunteer guide will give the class an overview of Superior Court before heading to their designated courtroom. Depending on their calendar and availability, judges and commissioners may or may not speak to the students.
Students may sit in on a morning calendar consisting of sentencing, changes of pleas and status conferences - a collection of events that usually precede or follow a trial. They might have an opportunity to observe a trial, generally scheduled to begin around 10:30 a.m., after the completion of the morning calendar.
Following their courtroom observation, classes will be given the option to visit the Maricopa County Justice Museum and Learning Center located on the top floor of the Old Courthouse, 125 W. Washington. Please indicate if you would like to visit the museum in the additional info section within the Request Visit Form.
All persons must be screened every time they enter the courthouse. The screening process will require you to remove your belt. You may be subject to search including your personal belongings. You can decrease the chance of this by limiting the number of items in your purse/briefcase as well as removing any metal from your person by either placing it into the provided container or not wearing it at all.
Only the main entrance and exit to the building shall be used unless there is an evacuation. The main entrance and exit are in the South Court Tower, 175 West Madison, Phoenix, Arizona.
No weapons are allowed in the building. This includes but is not limited to guns, knives (all sizes), knitting needles, Tasers, pepper spray, handcuff key, leathermans, lighters, belts with knives in them, etc. Do not bring these items with you. (See prohibited items)
No food or drinks except water is permitted in the courthouse or courtrooms except for the cafeteria area.
There is no running, skateboarding, yelling or loud talking.
Smoking is prohibited by law in all areas of court/government buildings. Smoking is permitted outside but please do not smoke near any entrance.
Leave the area better than you found it. Throw all garbage in an appropriate receptacle.
If you require an ADA (Americans with Disability Accommodation) inside the court building, please contact Norma Quiroz at 602-506-0094.
No eating or drinking, except water.
No gum chewing.
All cell phones shall be on mute in the courtroom.
Rise when the judge enters the courtroom.
No talking in the gallery when court is in session.
No photos inside the Courthouse.
Schedule Your Visit
Begin by filling out the form to request a tour.
Schedule your visit during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday. Criminal proceedings are usually taking place during that time.
Generally, one volunteer for every 16 students is recommended.
Please limit the number of students to no more than 125 per day.
We will arrange a volunteer who is available and willing to escort your group on your scheduled date.
(Downtown Tours only) Arrange for free parking for marked school buses or marked vans by calling the City of Phoenix at 602.262.6235.
We request that you bring at least one additional adult (other than the volunteer) for each 25 students.