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Clark County court system announces more changes

The Clark County court system announced Tuesday that it is once again modifying its operations to increase safety and stop the spread of COVID-19, including delaying all criminal and civil jury trials until at least July 6.

The county says there are changes at the Clark County Courthouse, the Juvenile Courthouse and the Family Law Annex, all of which are remaining open to an extent.

The Juvenile Courthouse and the Family Law Annex are closed to the public whenever proceedings finish for the day. Entry into the main courthouse is now limited to the west entrance, according to a county news release.

The further postponement of trials means anyone who receives a jury summons between Tuesday and July 3 is excused from service.

Additionally, 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.

Here are some additional changes to court proceedings:

• All criminal, civil and family law bench trials may be held remotely, if possible.

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

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

• All guardianship and probate dockets are canceled at least until the end of the month.

Any out-of-custody criminal defendants and respondents scheduled to appear for summons, other than a first appearance, arraignment or special set matter, do not need to show up until sometime after May. No bench warrants will be issued for not appearing for a summons during this time frame. Matters stricken during this time period will be recited for hearings by the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Family law dockets, modification dockets, pro se dockets and the child support docket are canceled.

Family law motions will be scheduled as special sets, by remote means. Anyone interested in a special set needs to contact specific judicial offices and departments. The requests will be considered by the assigned department for a remote hearing.

Therapeutic specialty courts — Adult Drug Court, Family Treatment Court, Juvenile Recovery Court, and Mental Health Court — are continuing based on procedures adopted by each of them.

For more details on all of the changes to court operations, visit https://www.clark.wa.gov/superior-court.

People who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, which include fever, persistent cough or shortness of breath, are barred from entering the court facilities.

“Any such person who does appear shall be refused entry,” the county’s release says.

People at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and others who cannot enter the courthouse who are trying to deal with an order to appear should contact the appropriate department to request other arrangements, officials said.

 


Source: https://www.columbian.com

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