Pierce County Superior Court Press Release: COVID-19 Pandemic Response – March 13, 2020

PIERCE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT PRESS RELEASE

MARCH 13, 2020

COVID-19 Response

The Superior Court bench met on Friday, March 13, 2020 to discuss the court’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The court facilities at the County-City Building, Remann Hall (Juvenile Court) and Western State Hospital will remain open but there are modifications to operations which should increase the safety of court participants and staff.

Beginning March 16, 2020, the following will occur:

· All jury trials will be suspended through April 24th, except those already in progress.

· Civil jury trials, except those already in progress, will either be continued or heard as a bench trial by agreement of the parties.

· All criminal jury trials, except those already in progress, will either be continued or heard as a bench trial by waiver of a jury trial. If you are scheduled to appear for a criminal proceeding between March 16 and April 24, you must show up to court. The court’s Emergency Order does not relieve you of your responsibility to appear before the Criminal Division Presiding Judge. Failure to appear will result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. When you show up to court you will receive your new trial date.

· Jurors summoned during those dates are excused from service.

· Bench trials will remain an option.

· The court is encouraging telephonic appearance.

· Non-jury trials are not affected. They will proceed as scheduled.

If you are scheduled for a court proceeding and you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and feel you cannot make it at your scheduled court time, you must call the contact who subpoenaed you, or the court, using the contact information listed below:

· If you are currently in trial or scheduled for a hearing in front of a judge, contact the judicial assistant for that department.

· If you have a hearing set before the Commissioners, please contact the Commissioner Services Department at (253)798-6697.

· For all other criminal matters, contact Criminal Administration at (253)798-2988.

· For all matters at Remann Hall (Juvenile Court), please contact Juvenile Court Administration at (253)798-7900.

· For all matters at Western State Hospital, please contact the County Clerk’s Office at

(253)756-2951.

· Jurors assigned to a department should call the number provided by the judicial assistant.

Any changes to court hours or proceedings will be provided in future press releases. For the latest information on court operations visit: www.piercecountywa.gov/courts.

We continue to follow guidance from Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) to help protect the public’s health. Employees and court participants should follow these recommendations while at the County-City Building, Remann Hall and Western State Hospital:

· 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 during a respiratory illness

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department COVID-19

Pierce County Superior Court is the second largest Superior Court in the State of Washington and is proud to serve the citizens and visitors of Pierce County. The Court is staffed with 22 Judges and 9 Commissioners. There are three sites where court is held; the County-City Building at 930 Tacoma Ave S., Tacoma, Remann Hall Juvenile Court at 5501 6th Ave., Tacoma, and Western State Hospital at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd. SW, Lakewood. For more information, please visit our website at http://co.pierce.wa.us/superiorcourt.

Media Contacts:
Chris Gaddis, Superior Court Administrator chris.gaddis@piercecountywa.gov
(253)798-3963