Superior Court updates modifications to operations in response to COVID-19 concerns

Additional schedule changes put in place to increase safety of court participants, employees

VANCOUVER — The Clark County Superior Court on Mon., March 16 modified its operations to increase the safety of court participants and staff. In its continued response to increase safety, the Superior Court Bench met Tue., March 17 and updated those modifications.

The Clark County Courthouse, Juvenile Courthouse and Family Law Annex facilities remain open with the following changes beginning March 18:

  • All jury trials are suspended through April 24, except those already in progress.
  • All criminal jury trials and civil jury trials not yet in session are continued until at least April 27, 2020.
  • Jurors summoned between March 16 and April 24 are excused from service.
  • All criminal, civil and family law bench trials are canceled.
  • All adult and juvenile in custody criminal defendants/respondents hearings except for first appearances are stricken until April 24, 2020.
  • All adult and juvenile out of custody criminal defendants/respondents hearings are stricken until April 24, 2020. Any out of custody criminal defendant/respondent scheduled to appear for summons from March 16, 2020 to at least April 24, 2020 need not appear. No bench warrants will be issued for not appearing for a summons during this time frame.
  • All family law dockets, including the Commissioner show cause dockets, modification dockets, pro se dockets and the child support docket are canceled through April 24, 2020.  Additionally, the Judge’s Wednesday and Friday morning dockets and all family law trials are canceled through April 24, 2020.
  • Requests for special set hearings will be considered for emergent issues. Agreed orders shall be submitted ex parte. To request a special set for telephonic hearing contact the assigned departments as follows:
  1. Family law cases with the exception of the self-represented finalizations – contact the assigned judicial department.
  2. Self-represented finalizations may be submitted to the assigned Commissioner, with a Declaration in Support of Entry, in writing to Court Administration.
  • Examples of emergent and/or necessary court involvement include, but are not limited to:  temporary restraining orders, child safety concerns, financial concerns that limit a party’s ability to meet basic needs, etc.
  • All civil dockets and guardianship/probation dockets are canceled through April 24, 2020. Requests for special set hearings will be considered for emergent issues. Agreed orders shall be submitted ex parte. To request a special set for telephonic hearing contact the assigned department.
  • All dependency dockets, including fact-findings, initial shelter care hearings and contested shelter care hearings are canceled through April 24, 2020.
  • All dependency review hearings, permanency plan hearings and any other motion or matter currently docketed shall be rescheduled, with notice mailed to parties at their last known address.
  • Requests for special set hearings will be considered for emergent issues. Agreed orders shall be submitted ex parte. To request a special set for telephonic hearing contact the assigned department.
  • Examples of emergent and/or necessary court involvement include, but are not limited to:  change of placement, trial return home, dismissals, emergent medical care, etc.
  • The initial shelter care hearing will be held telephonically unless specifically noted otherwise, and will include the newly appointed attorneys. 
  • Contested shelter care hearings and fact finding hearings are canceled through April 24, 2020.  Matters currently set for these types of hearings will be rescheduled, with notice provided to all parties at the last known address.
  • Unlawful Detainer dockets are canceled. Orders to show cause will be considered by the assigned department.
  • 1 p.m. Ex Parte will remain open for agreed and emergency orders.
  • All Settlement Conferences scheduled between March 18, 2020, and April 27, 2020, are canceled. Notice of new conference date will be mailed to parties.
  • Therapeutic specialty courts (Adult Drug Court, Family Treatment Court, and Juvenile Recovery Court) will continue based on procedures adopted by each specialty court team.
  • Any matters not addressed in this emergency order shall proceed in the manner consistent with all State and Local Court rules.

The Clark County Superior Court remains open.

Persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, persistent cough, or shortness of breath are prohibited from entering Clark County Courthouse, Juvenile Courthouse, and 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.

Superior court staff continue 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.

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