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Washington State Court Closures

Posted by Howard Stein | Apr 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

On April 13, 2020 the Washington State Supreme Court has extended  the period of time that state court's will be closed to everyone except for emergency matters.

The order now extends through May 4, 2020.

If you have a court date between now and  May 4, make sure the court has your current address and keep an eye on the mail for any notices.  

Find your court date here:  https://dw.courts.wa.gov/index.cfm?fa=home.fmcd&terms=accept&flashform=0

If you need help our current hours are 9 am - 5 pm

Here are some exerpts of what the Supreme Court has said:

Access to justice must be protected during emergency court operations. Where individuals are required to access the court through remote means, courts must provide no-cost options for doing so or provide a means for seeking a waiver of costs. 

Also,the court should make interpretive services to all who need them 

All criminal jury trials are suspended until after May 4, 2020. Trials already in session where a jury has been sworn and social distancing and other public health measures are strictly observed may proceed or be continued if the defendant agrees to a continuance. 7. All out of custody criminal and juvenile offender matters shall be continued until after May 4, 2020, except (1) those motions, actions on agreed orders, status conferences or other proceedings that can appropriately be conducted by telephone, video or other means that does not require in-person attendance; and (2) matters that require in-person Page 6 ORDER 25700-B-615 attendance but should in the interests of justice be heard immediately, provided that any such hearings must strictly comply with current public health mandates. Arraignment on out of custody criminal and juvenile offender cases filed between March 18, 2020 and May 4, 2020 may be deferred until a date 45 days after the filing of charges. 

Nothing in this section requires suspension of therapeutic court proceedings that can appropriately be conducted by telephone, video or other means that does not require in– person attendance.

Protection Orders 

Judicial officers have discretion to set hearing dates and extend temporary protection orders based on the circumstances to reasonably allow for sufficient notice, remote appearance, and presentation of evidence, while avoiding unreasonable delay. 

Reissuance orders may be similarly extended. Courts may provide a means for weapons surrender hearings that does not require in-person appearance only when consistent with public safety. c. Guidance for courts implementing emergency measures under this section may be found here. 5. With respect to all civil matters, courts should encourage parties to stipulate in writing to reasonable modifications of existing case schedules and methods of service and to conduct discovery by remote means whenever possible. Nothing in this Order requires courts to hear nonemergency civil matters until after May 4, 2020.

You can find the entire order here

http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20Orders/25700B615%20Revised%20and%20Extended%20Order%20Regarding%20Court%20Operations.pdf

About the Author

Howard Stein

[email protected] Firm Partner, Personal Injury, and Criminal Defense Attorney Howard Stein has been practicing law for over 30 years in Washington State. He has experience as a prosecutor, defense attorney, attorney fighting for those who have been injured and as a judge pro tem. He also teaches other attorneys ...

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