Author: Joshua Brumley
May 18, 2020
The Supreme Court of Washington has severely limited the operation of most courthouses due to Governor Inslee’s Stay Home- Stay Healthy proclamation. To ensure continued access to the justice system while protecting public health, the Court has put in place new directives for cases that are allowed to proceed and information about cases that will be postponed until Courts reopen. While necessary for public health reasons, it has caused confusion for the public and serious delays in many cases. To further complicate matters, the Supreme Court and Superior Court may continue to update their Orders as the Governor’s Emergency Orders evolve.
Currently scheduled civil trials in King County Superior Court have been delayed and will be rescheduled on or after June 8, 2020. All civil jury trials are suspended until at least July 6, 2020. When the Court is able to resume jury trials, priority will be given to Criminal trials, Dependency and Family law cases.
The Courts are currently hearing emergency civil matters, protection and restraining orders by electronic means or in person adhering to strict public health measures. Family Law emergencies as well as orders and divorces where all parties are in agreement are being heard telephonically. All non-emergency civil matters are continued until after June 1 although select civil actions may proceed if they can be conducted remotely.
Criminal and Juvenile Courts
Criminal jury trials are suspended until at least July 6, 2020 with limited exceptions for trials in progress. Nonjury trials may be conducted remotely or in person following strict public health measures.
Out of Custody criminal and juvenile matters may be continued until after June 1 unless they can be conducted remotely. Matters requiring in-person attendance but in the interest of justice should be heard immediately may proceed in compliance with current public health mandates. Arraignments on out of custody criminal and juvenile cases filed between March 18 and July 3, 2020 may be deferred until 45 days after the filing of charges. The new arraignment date will be used for purposes of establishing the date for trial. In all criminal cases the time between April 29 and September 1, 2020 will be excluded when calculating trial dates. Proceedings that can appropriately be conducted by telephone or video conference are not required to be suspended.
All new out of custody filings on Criminal matters have been suspended. Out of custody criminal matters filed from March 16 until Courts resume regular operations will be dated the day Courts resume, arraignment and trial dates will be extended as necessary.. All out of custody hearings set between March 16 and July 31, 2020 are currently cancelled and will be rescheduled when normal operations resume. Consult your attorney if you are unsure of your court date or call us and we can assist you.
Jury trials are suspended and jury trial setting and trial motion hearings set before July 31, 2020 are cancelled to be rescheduled once Courts resume regular operations. In-custody matters will be prioritized when setting trial dates.
Courts are attempting to continue administering justice while balancing serious public health concerns. Cases will be seriously delayed because of rescheduling and congestion of Court calendars when normal operations resume. If your matter can be taken care of via telephone or videoconference, now is the time to take advantage of this while Courts are clearing as many cases as possible. For example, warrants can now be quashed over the phone. Email or call us at or (253) 236-4079 if you have questions.