Bailiff Job Description

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Bailiffs, who might be referred to as courthouse marshals, constables or sheriff’s deputies, are found in district and circuit courts of all levels – whether municipal, county, state or federal. Bailiffs are peace officers who protect security in the courts. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that jobs for bailiffs nationwide will grow by 9.4 percent between 2008 and 2018.

Bailiff Job Qualifications

Most states require that bailiffs be at least 21 years old and U.S. citizens or legal residents. Many local governments require that county or city bailiffs be residents of the county or city (judicial district) in which they work.  Educational requirements vary from state to state, but at the minimum include a high school diploma or GED. Even if a state does not mandate it, having some college education can help a bailiff applicant stand out over other applicants without a college education. Fields of study relevant to a career as a bailiff include:

  • Law
  • Law enforcement
  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Corrections
  • Social science
  • Human behavior

Some, but not all, states require that bailiffs possess law enforcement experience. Training may be required before beginning work in a courtroom as a bailiff. This training usually occurs at a peace officer or police academy.

 

Courses may include:

  • First aid and CPR
  • Courtroom policies and procedures
  • Introduction to criminal justice system
  • Firearms training and qualification (if the bailiff job requires carrying a firearm)
  • Self-defense techniques
  • Physical conditioning

Bailiff Job Description

The job duties of a bailiff include:

  • Keeping the courtroom secure and guarding the safety of everyone inside the courtroom
    • This includes searching the courtroom and the interior and exterior of the courthouse before and after proceedings and courtroom breaks to make sure nothing is present that does not belong inside the courtroom
    • This may also include using screening technology such as x-rays and other devices to search persons entering the courtroom and confiscating firearms and other items not allowed in the courtroom
    • A bailiff usually escorts a prisoner to and from the courthouse and maintains custody of the prisoner during the courtroom proceedings
    • A bailiff often escorts judges and others to and from the courtroom
  • Keeping order and quiet in the courtroom.
    • Some bailiffs are authorized or mandated to carry firearms and non-lethal weapons such as tasers and pepper spray to protect those within the courtroom in the event of a violent attack
    • Bailiffs must guard the jury from contact with those outside of the courtroom
    • Bailiffs must also keep persons from smoking in the courtroom, entering the courtroom during a judge’s charges to the jury, and otherwise disturbing the courtroom proceedings
  • Assisting the judge and others in the courtroom who may need assistance
    • Bailiffs may screen and handle exhibits and evidence during court proceedings
    • Bailiffs may also be asked to provide water and tissues to witnesses on the stand and other participants in court proceedings
  • Maintaining the ethics and integrity of the court
    • The bailiff announces the entrance and exit of the judge and instructs those present in the courtroom to rise and be seated at appropriate times
  • Making sure proper court procedures are followed, including procedures to follow in the event of an emergency
    • Bailiffs must notify the proper emergency personnel, including police and medical personnel, in the event of emergencies as necessary
  • Performing administrative duties in the courtroom may be a part of a bailiff’s job description
    • This may include keeping the courtroom clean and stocked with necessities such as notepads

Bailiff Jobs Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2012 there were 16,240 bailiffs employed across the United States. The average bailiff salary was $39,840 per year at that time. Higher than average salaries were found for bailiffs in the following states:

  • New York:  $57,500
  • California:  $55,230
  • Nevada:  $46,300
  • Florida:  $45,100
  • Colorado:  $44,720

This table reflects data released by the Bureau of Labor Statics in May 2012 and shows salary data for bailiffs across the United States:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Alabama
130
34300
Arizona
240
33180
Arkansas
120
31940
California
180
55230
Colorado
50
44720
Delaware
60
29460
Florida
1510
45100
Georgia
1070
22560
Hawaii
50
38160
Idaho
110
30230
Illinois
430
29050
Indiana
610
32510
Kansas
90
37040
Kentucky
770
23380
Louisiana
450
33590
Maine
100
30630
Maryland
110
31030
Michigan
340
39620
Minnesota
(8)-
40910
Mississippi
230
25070
Missouri
230
30840
Montana
50
25620
Nebraska
70
42450
Nevada
140
46300
New Hampshire
30
32560
New Jersey
90
35800
New York
3810
57500
North Carolina
330
34500
North Dakota
200
31050
Ohio
1470
39460
Oklahoma
50
32970
Oregon
80
40730
Pennsylvania
290
23810
Puerto Rico
1020
30010
South Carolina
300
22030
South Dakota
100
20790
Tennessee
360
28810
Texas
620
40270
Utah
70
37910
Virginia
430
35410
Washington
130
42130
West Virginia
150
27330
Wisconsin
250
29910

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