By Jedidiah McKeehan

If you have ever been in a courtroom, then you may have noticed the gentleman up near the judge’s bench, in dress jackets, wearing badges and surveying the crowd.  Who do these people think they are anyway?  They are not lawyers, they are not cops, they are bailiffs.

A bailiff is a court officer who is often a retired policeman or security officer who is charged with keeping order in the courtroom.  They will make announcements at the beginning of court for everyone to pay attention and turn off your cell phones.  They will ask everyone to stand when the judge is entering and leaving the courtroom.  They will hand documents from the lawyers to the judge.  They will swear in witnesses, and they will handcuff individuals who the judge orders be taken in to custody.

Probably most important, if you are in the audience and have a question about whether you are in the right courtroom or anything else, the bailiff is the person most likely to know the answer to your question.

It is always a good idea to get on the bailiff’s good side if at all possible because they may be able to get your case heard earlier or help you in locating the courtroom or office that you need to find.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.