Clark County Superior Court updates modifications to operations

Entry to the Clark County Courthouse has been reduced to the West Entrance only

The Clark County Courthouse, Juvenile Courthouse and Family Law Annex facilities remain open but there are modifications to operations which should increase the safety of court participants and staff.

The Juvenile Courthouse and Family Law Annex will be closed to the public once all proceedings have been completed for the day. Entry to the Clark County Courthouse has been reduced to the West Entrance only.

Beginning May 4, 2020:

• All criminal and civil jury trials are continued until at least July 6, 2020.

• Jurors summoned between May 4, 2020 and July 3, 2020 are excused from service.

• All criminal, civil and family law bench trials may be held as determined by remote means.

• All adult and juvenile in custody criminal hearings except for first appearances, arraignments, plea hearings, criminal motions without testimony or other evidentiary requirements, and sentencing or disposition hearings are stricken until June 1, 2020.

• All adult and juvenile out of custody criminal hearings are stricken until June 1, 2020 except for first appearances and arraignments.

Any out of custody criminal defendants/respondents scheduled to appear for summons, other than a first appearance, arraignment or special set matter, from May 4, 2020 to June 1, 2020 need not appear. No bench warrants will be issued for not appearing for a summons during this time frame. Matters stricken during this time period will be re-cited for hearing by the Prosecuting Attorney.

All family law dockets, including the Commissioner show cause dockets, modification dockets, pro se dockets and the child support docket are canceled through June 1, 2020.  Additionally, the Judge’s Wednesday and Friday morning dockets and all family law trials are canceled through June 1, 2020.

Through June 1, 2020 all family law motions (emergent and non-emergent matters) will be scheduled as special sets, by remote means. Agreed orders shall be submitted ex parte. To request a special set hearing contact the appropriate judicial officer/department as follows:

1. Family law cases, except for Self-Represented Finalizations, if a hearing would have previously been on a commissioner’s docket, contact the appropriate judicial assistant:

• For Commissioner Ellis contact Gizella Darfler gizella.darfler@clark.wa.gov

• For Commissioner Liebman contact Rebecca Wittenborn rebecca.wittenborn@clark.wa.gov

• For Commissioner Schienberg contact Rebecca Wittenborn rebecca.wittenborn@clark.wa.gov

• For Commissioner Swingen contact Whitney Freese whitney.freese@clark.wa.gov

If a hearing would have previously been on a judge’s docket, contact the appropriate department’s judicial assistant via email to schedule a special set hearing. 

2. Self-represented Finalizations may be submitted to the assigned Commissioner, with a Declaration in Support of Entry, in writing to Court Administration.

• All civil dockets are moving forward as scheduled via remote means.

• All guardianship/probate dockets are canceled through June 1, 2020.

• Requests for special set hearings will be considered by the assigned department for a remote hearing. Agreed orders shall be submitted ex parte to the assigned department.

All Tuesday Dependency dockets will be held by remote means.  Parties wishing to participate in their hearings should obtain the call-in information from their attorney or assigned social worker.  See General Order 20-12 for full details regarding dependency and termination dockets.

• Unlawful Detainer dockets are canceled through June 4, 2020. Orders to show cause will be considered by the assigned department.

• Ex Parte will remain open for agreed and emergency orders.

• All Settlement Conferences scheduled after May 4, 2020 are moving forward as scheduled via remote means.

• Therapeutic specialty courts (Adult Drug Court, Family Treatment Court, Juvenile Recovery Court, and Mental Health Court) will continue based on procedures adopted by each specialty court team.

• Civil Protection orders will be handled ex parte per General Rule 20-10.

Persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, persistent cough, or shortness of breath are prohibited from entering Clark County Courthouse, Juvenile Courthouse, or the Family Law Annex. Any such person who does appear shall be refused entry.

Persons at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and those who cannot enter the Courthouse who wish to avail themselves of an order to appear shall contact the appropriate judicial department to request other arrangements be made related to their court business. 

Any changes to court hours or proceedings will be provided in future press releases. For the latest information on court operations visit: https://www.clark.wa.gov/superior-court.

The courthouse staff continues to follow guidance from Clark County Public Health to help protect the public’s health.  Employees and court participants should follow these recommendations while at the County Courthouse, Juvenile Courthouse and Family Law Annex:

• Increase handwashing and use of alcohol-based sanitizer

• Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette – cover a cough or a sneeze

• Keep distance from others (more than six feet, if possible)

• Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces

• Remain home if you are sick

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

About The Author

Related posts