SUPERIOR COURT JURY TRIALS SET TO RESUME
On behalf of the Superior Court Judges, Clerk's Office and all court staff, we are pleased to announce Cowlitz County Superior Court is set to resume jury trials in April 2021.In November of 2020, jury trials and in-person court proceedings were suspended due to local and national surges in the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Safety precautions consistent with local health department guidance and CDC recommendations have been implemented to protect juror safety and public health as trials resume.
Jury summons have been sent, with the first potential trials planned for the first week of April, 2021.
"It was necessary to suspend jury trials to protect the health of court users and court staff. With input from health officials, we have implemented safety measures to provide potential jurors with the safest possible experience", said Judge Patricia Fassett ."Jurors and the jury system are cornerstones in our justice system which promotes the fair and impartial disposition of cases. Without jury trials, justice is being denied."
The safety measures that have been implemented are key to providing a safe and secure environment for jurors, litigants, staff and judges. Some of these safety measures are as follows:
- Jury trials will occur at the Cowlitz County Event Center instead of the Hall of Justice as this will allow adequate space to properly social distance all people attending the trials
- All jurors and court users will be required to wear masks provided by the Superior Court each day
- Hand sanitizer stations will be provided throughout court facilities
- All participants in a trial will be required to participate in pre-trial health screening
- All participants in a trial will be required to participate in daily health screening
- People that have COVID-19 symptoms prior to the trial will not be allowed to participate in jury service
- People that develop COVID-19 symptoms during the trial will be excused from the trial
- Rigorous cleaning regiments are being implemented for all court facilities
- The general public viewing of jury trials will be limited so as to limit potential virus exposure
- All trials will be live streamed via YouTube. Links will be provided on the Cowlitz County Superior Court website so the public can access the trials.
Court staff have and will continue to do all they can to create the safest possible environment for our jurors. Jury trials and nearly all public, in-person court activities were put on hold in November by order of the Superior Court to protect the public health and safety.Cowlitz County's last jury trial was held on November 2020.
For more information concerning our jury process and answers to common questions, please see our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on our website:https://www.cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us/juror-information
"We look forward to seeing our community respond to our summons. We know this has been a very challenging time and we understand that fears and concerns exist. We do not take those fears lightly. We have taken extraordinary measures to provide a safe environment for you to serve and we look forward to meeting you and resuming our trials," said Presiding Judge Gary Bashor.
For more information about the Cowlitz County Superior Court, please visit our website at:https://cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us/
Chadwick M. Connors