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Justice Center and First Court Appearance

The Multnomah County Justice Center consists of four courtrooms, located on the third floor. These courtrooms primarily handle criminal cases.

JC1 – Preliminary Hearings
JC2 – Probation Violations
JC3 – Felony Arraignments
JC4 – Misdemeanor Arraignments

The most common hearing heard at the Justice Center is an Arraignment. An Arraignment is the first appearance in a criminal case, where the charges are read to the person being accused of a crime. At this time, the person being accused of a crime will generally enter a “Not Guilty” plea, and future court date(s) will be set.

  1. It is recommended that you arrive to court 30-45 minutes early.
  2. The Justice Center is located at 1120 SW 3rd Ave., Portland, OR. Parking structures, metered parking spots, and public transportation (Bus and Light Rail) are located within several blocks of the building.
  3. When you enter the building, you will have to go through security.
  4. Once you pass through security, go upstairs and report to the “Court Check-In Window” (stairs and elevators are available).
  5. If you are here to observe someone else’s court case, the clerk at the window can look up the case for you and tell you which courtroom to go to. If you are here for your own court case, the clerk at the window will ask you whether you want represent yourself, hire your own attorney, or if you would like the State to provide you with an attorney. If you would like a Court Appointed Attorney, you will need to fill out paperwork. You may be required to pay a portion of the cost for the attorney. The amount is based on how much money you make in relation to how many expenses you have. This amount varies on a case by case basis. Payment arrangements are available.

  1. After you have finished at the Court Check-In Window, you will be told which courtroom to go to.
  2. Take a seat in the courtroom and wait for your case to be called. Cases are not called in any particular order.
  3. There will be an assigned Defense Attorney and a District Attorney (prosecutor) in the courtroom.
  4. When your case is called, go and stand next to the Defense Attorney (unless you are here with your own attorney).
  5. The Defense Attorney will provide you with a copy of the charging document. This document lists the charges being brought against you.
  6. The Defense Attorney will ask you to verify that your name and date of birth are correct on the charging document. If they are incorrect, please let the attorney know, and they will be corrected.
  7. The Defense Attorney will enter a “Not Guilty” plea on your behalf.
  8. The Defense Attorney will let you know which attorney has been assigned to your case, and provide you with their contact information.
  9. The clerk in the courtroom will provide you with a future court date, and copies of any paperwork.