In-person hearings for many court cases within the county are being suspended and other operations are being limited, due to the recent rate of COVID-19 cases.
Presiding Judge David Edwards issued an order this week that will make multiple changes to the local court system starting on Sep 1, 2021 and continuing until further notice.
Judge Edwards noted that, “Less than 50% of the population of Grays Harbor County is fully vaccinated at this time, which creates an unsafe and unreasonable risk for all persons employed within the Grays Harbor County courthouse and other related court facilities, and for all persons who enter such buildings or facilities.”
Some of the items included in the order are;
- Criminal jury trials shall be scheduled and conducted at the Satsop Business Park in the courtrooms assembled at that site, as they allow for social distancing.
- Nonjury trials may be conducted by remote means effective immediately.
- The court shall continue to conduct its regular criminal motion dockets by Zoom until further order.
- Cases for out-of-custody defendants who are scheduled to plead guilty or for sentencing shall be heard in-person.
- The cases for in-custody defendants who are scheduled to plead guilty or for sentencing, shall be heard in-person or by Zoom at the jail.
- All Drug Court proceedings shall be conducted remotely.
- All civil jury trials scheduled to begin between the date of this order and June 1, 2022 are hereby stricken and counsel shall submit a new request for trial with the Court Administrator on or after February 1, 2022.
- Evidentiary hearings or non-jury civil trials shall be conducted remotely.
- All motions in domestic and family law cases shall be scheduled for remote hearing only.
- Other changes
Also included in the order, the Grays Harbor Clerk’s Office will limit their hours to the public from Monday-Friday between 9-11am, with access by phone or email from 8a-5p.
The Court Administration office will close to the public. They can also be contacted by email or phone from 8a-4p.
Court Security personnel will screen anyone entering the courthouse and have the authority to deny entry to any person.