Edmonds Municipal Court resumes hearings remotely

All court hearings have returned to Edmonds Municipal Court – remotely.

According to a court announcement Tuesday, defendants and respondents who have received an infraction will once again have their day in court — but in light of the COVID-19 outbreak they will be joining court either online or telephonically.

The court had put emergency measures in place in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including continuing in-person hearings and jury trial . However, it has started rescheduling hearings in compliance with the revised Washington State Supreme Court order, which provides guidance on when and how criminal and civil matters may be conducted and hearings held during this health emergency.

Edmonds has started rescheduling hearings that were previously given a lengthy continuance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notices are sent to defense attorneys, who are responsible for notifying their clients. If someone is unrepresented, the court will send them a notice. Anyone who has a question about their case can call the court to find out the status of their hearing. The remote hearings will be livestreamed. A link to the livestream is on the court’s website.

The court is not holding any in-person hearings unless it must be held in-person in the interest of justice, the announcement said. However, effective Wednesday, May 20, everyone who physically comes to the courthouse must use hand sanitizer prior to entering the courtroom, will be screened by court security for a fever with a touchless thermometer, and must wear a mask that covers
their nose and mouth.

The court will not be providing masks unless the defendant is indigent and does not already have a mask. While in the courtroom, masks must be worn unless speaking as part of a specific hearing while six feet apart from others. The court also may ask defendants to briefly remove masks for identification purposes. Attendees also must be seated 6 feet apart.

Anyone who meets the following CDC’s high-risk group of people can appear remotely, but should not be physically coming to the courthouse:

  • 65 years and older
  • lives in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • has underlying medical conditions (including chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher), diabetes. chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, liver disease).

Although the front clerk’s counter will continue to be closed to the public, the public can still communicate with the court via email, fax, phone or through its drop box outside the courthouse. When Gov. Jay Inslee declares the state is in its second phase of reopening, the court will open the front clerk’s window, but the court’s health safeguard requirements will remain.

The court’s First Revised Administrative Order No. 23-A is posted on the court’s website.

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