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Oral arguments in both the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals are open to the public, and members of the public always are welcome to visit both courts, which are housed in the:
Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center
2 East 14th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
An appellate oral argument is a courtroom presentation by a lawyer to a panel of justices or judges, summarizing legal reasons that the lawyer hopes will persuade the panel to rule in favor of his or her client. Oral arguments are not the closing trial arguments, often portrayed dramatically on television and in movies, in which lawyers urge jurors to find in favor of their clients. Oral arguments often are highly technical discussions of statutes and previous appellate court rulings. They focus more on legal issues than on the facts or evidence in a case.
The court does not rule immediately after an oral argument. Written rulings usually are issued one to nine months later.
Appellate courts do not conduct trials or evidentiary or sentencing hearings. Those are conducted in the district and county courthouses throughout Colorado, to which visits can be arranged by contacting the appropriate clerk of court.
School, civic and other groups of 15 or more people may arrange for a guided visit to the appellate courtrooms when they are not in use and, if possible, a meeting with one of the Justices on the Supreme Court or one of the judges on the Court of Appeals. Requests for a guided visit of the courthouse and Learning Center or for a visit with a Supreme Court justice or Court of Appeals judge should be sent to the Supreme Court Law Library.
For groups from law-related educational entities, a presentation on the Supreme Court Law Library can be combined with the guided visit.
Frequently Requested Information About Visiting the Appellate Courts
Visiting groups wishing to attend oral arguments in addition to having a guided visit to the appellate courtroom should check the oral argument schedules on the Colorado Judicial Branch website to determine dates and times of the arguments before asking to schedule a visit: Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals.
An oral argument before the Colorado Supreme Court lasts for either 30 minutes or one hour, depending on the case. An oral argument before the Colorado Court of Appeals lasts about 30 minutes. A guided visit to a courtroom that is not in use and meeting with a justice or judge lasts about 45 minutes to one hour.
To determine if your group would benefit from attending an oral argument, listen to recordings of some previous oral arguments on the Colorado Judicial Branch website. Previous oral arguments before the Colorado Supreme Court and Colorado Court of Appeals are available through these links.
No special parking area is available for visiting groups. On-street metered parking is available on streets adjoining the building. Several private commercial parking lots are located within a few blocks of the building.
Nearby sites of interest include the U.S. Mint, the State Capitol and the Denver Art Museum. Civic Center Park is across the street from the court building.