What is the proper form of address when speaking with a U.S. Deputy Marshal?

Can any federal practitioners or court house staff out there enlighten me on this? My understanding is that there is ONE marshal for each federal district (just as there is one Sheriff for each county) and that all the other officers colloquially referred to as marshal’s are, strictly speaking, deputy marshals.

How does one address one of these officers?

  1. “Excuse me, deputy, could you tell me where Courtroom 14 is?”
  2. “Excuse me, marshal, could you tell me where Courtroom 14 is?”
  3. “Excuse me, officer, could you tell me where Courtroom 14 is?”

If it was me:
4. Excuse me, could you tell me where Courtroom 14 is?"

“Don’t tase me, bro!” Sorry - it had to be said.

When in doubt, “sir” (or “ma’am”, as applicable) is a good option.

You can never go wrong with “sir,” but either “deputy” or “marshal” will work, too. Most people will never lay eyes on the U.S. marshal for a Federal district, but plenty will see his or her many deputies, and they’re used to be being referred to simply as “marshal.”

Thanks EH. That’s what I thought, but good to have it confirmed. I think that I generally will address the person as “marhsal” but wondered whether I was incorrect in doing so.

Just be sure to call them “Special Agent”, and not just “Agent”. They get pissy about that. :wink:

And don’t forget to say thanks.

“Thank you Marshal, and tell Miss Kitty I said hello.”

Presumably because they’re marshalls, not agents. :stuck_out_tongue:


Unless he’s an NCO in the Army, Marines, or Navy;)

Actually, in my experience, I’ve yet to run into an NCO that got overly bent around the horn about being called “Sir”, although I did meet a Marine PFC who demanded that I stop doing so to an Army Staff Sergeant because it was disrespectful (the Staff Sergeant in question never seemed to care one way or the other how the Airmen addressed him).

Of course, you’re not likely to confuse an Army sergeant for a Deputy Marshal, so my comment is largely irrelevant.:smiley:

Yes, this. Either deputy, or marshal, or deputy marshal. Not quite the same thing, but my dad calls all of the deputy sheriffs by “sheriff” in the hometown courthouse as well. Seeing the actual U.S. Marshal is indeed rare, it’s like seeing the Chief of Police for a major city. I did get to see the actual U.S. Marshal for our district a couple of times when I was a federal judicial law clerk - his investiture ceremony was held in our courtroom, and I shared the staff elevator with him once. Got to say “Good morning, Marshal.” :slight_smile:

And for the nitpickers among us, it’s the “U.S. Marshals Service.” No apostrophe, and just one “l.”

Especially when the person is well armed and is bigger and stronger than you are.