Protocols changing for Wahkiakum's courts
August 6, 2020
Wahkiakum County courts (Superior Court, District Court, and County Clerk) continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, and to collaborate with state and local officials to ensure the health and safety of all participants. Jury trials may resume in August; several are currently scheduled. Because courthouse and jury room sizes are limited, additional facilities will be used to ensure juror safety.
Court offices are now open to the public during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday). Space in each office is limited. People should look through the window before entering and wait outside where marked if someone else is already being served at the counter. Face coverings are required to enter the building.
Superior Court regular dockets and all trials are conducted in-person, with Zoom appearances permitted on a case by case basis with approval from court administration. District Court hearings and civil trials are conducted primarily through Zoom online video conference, with in-person appearances required or permitted on a case by case basis. District Court criminal trials are conducted in-person.
The Washington constitution requires all courts to provide public access to court proceedings. To do this, all court proceedings will be streamed live on YouTube. Links to each court’s YouTube channel are posted on each court’s website. Due to limited capacity, the courts will limit non-participants in the courtroom. Those wishing to view the proceeding need to watch the YouTube broadcast.
When not distributed at the courthouse, the courts will send hearing notices by mail or email, along with instructions for using Zoom to participate in a hearing where applicable. Instructions for Zoom will also be available on the courts’ websites, and by email or mail upon request. Any court case participant who does not have access to Zoom but needs it should contact the court. There is a terminal available for Zoom access at the courthouse when needed.
All hearings will be conducted under conditions that protect the health and safety of all participants. All persons entering the courtroom will be required to wash or sanitize their hands before entering, to wear a cloth face covering (or face shield if medically exempt from wearing a mask) at all times, and to follow all instructions about social distancing and safety.
For those at high risk of severe illness from the corona virus, additional accommodations will be liberally granted to parties, witnesses, attorneys, and others. People who have an active case should work with their lawyer to arrange to appear through Zoom or by phone. If one does not have an attorney, or for any questions, visit the courts’ websites or call District Court at 360.795.3461 or Superior Court at 360.795.3558.
Posted on the courts’ websites are emergency court orders, court updates, and information related to changes in operations, such as jury duty, jury trials, filing court documents by email and fax, and drop offs to the large blue drop box located outside the front entry at 64 Main Street. Online court services remain available for some court business, including payment of fines, paying tickets, accessing commonly used forms, and more.