District Court

Immediate Temporary Changes to District Court Operations from March 17, 2020 to April 24, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (see press release), San Juan County District Court has implemented the following temporary changes to court operations in accordance with First Amended Emergency Order 20-02 and the Supplemental Emergency Order 20-03:

• All CRIMINAL JURY TRIALS are CONTINUED to after May 1, 2020.  The Court will issue new court dates by mail.  All jurors summonsed to appear during this time are excused from service.

• All out of custody criminal matters presently noted will be rescheduled to date after April 24, 2020.  Arraignments and preliminary appearances for out of custody cases filed between March 18, 2020 and April 24, 2020 shall be deferred until a date 45 days after the filing of charges.  The court will issue new court dates by mail.

• The Court will consider agreed orders submitted to the Clerk by counsel by fax or email for out of custody criminal matters. Orders entered ex parte shall be returned to counsel via email if an email address is provided.

• Parties, victims and witnesses may file motions to be heard by telephone prior to April 24, 2020 in out of custody criminal matters.  See section 2b of the court’s supplemental emergency order for further information. 

• The Court may enter ex parte when an information, citation, or complaint is filed with the court and the court finds that probable cause is present for a sex offense, domestic violence offense, stalking offense, or harassment offense. Ex parte orders may be served upon the defendant by mail.  See section 2C of the administrative order for more details.

• Out of custody probation matters on the set on the Tuesday probation calendar will be reset to a date after April 27, 2020.  These hearings will be reset to a date determined by the court clerk and probation officer.

• All in custody criminal matters shall be continued until after April 24, 2020, with the following exceptions: preliminary appearances, arraignments, criminal motions, plea hearings; and sentencing.  Parties may appear by telephone or Skype video conference, if available.  The court will issue new court dates by mail.

• NO CIVIL JURY TRIAL will be set for a date prior to June 1, 2020.

• Civil motions, infraction matters (the court will continue to accept written statements by mail and email), small claims matters, name change hearings, impound of vehicle or vessel and impound of animal hearings are all continued to a date after April 27, 2020.  

• The Court will consider ex parte motions or agreed orders filed by fax or email.  Fees for ex parte presentation shall be waived. Orders entered ex parte shall be returned to parties via email if an email address is provided.

• Full-order hearings on CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS are presumed to be emergency civil matters and will not be continued. These matters must be conducted by telephone unless impossible.

• For all in-person hearings each person in the gallery must sit at least six feet apart and use the hand sanitizer at counsel tables.

• NO PERSON MAY ENTER THE COURTROOM IF SICK OR EXHIBITING ANY SIGNS OF ILLNESS, INCLUDING COUGHING. IF YOU ARE COUGHING, YOU WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE.

• The District Court front counter will be available for most paper filing and money transactions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

• Filing a petition for a civil protection order in person is permitted from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm; the petitioner must ring the bell for service at the front counter if the counter is closed.

• Screening by the public defender screener shall be by telephone until further order. Call the Public Defender Screener Monday – Friday from 9am – 12pm at: 360-370-7444.

• Court interpreters may appear by telephone.

• Civil Ceremonies, such as weddings and administration of oaths, performed by the District Court Judge are suspended until further order.

Click here for the entire text of the court’s First Amended Emergency Administrative Order.

Click here for the entire text of the court’s supplemental emergency order. 

Click here for the court’s press release.

Jewett cropped photoPresiding Judge Carolyn M. Jewett

The following quote hangs in the courtroom: “The ordinary administration of criminal and civil justice … contributes more than any other circumstance, to the impressing upon the minds of the people, affection, esteem, and reverence towards government.” Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 17 (1787). It daily reminds us of our mission to serve the public by providing an accessible forum for the fair, efficient, and understandable resolution of civil and criminal cases while maintaining an atmosphere of respect for the dignity of all individuals.

 What We Do

District Court has jurisdiction over the following types of cases:

  • Criminal Misdemeanors and Gross Misdemeanors,
  • Traffic and Non-Traffic Infractions,
  • Parking Infractions,
  • Civil Suits up to $100,000,
  • Small Claim Suits up to $5,000 for a business or other legal entity, or $10,000 for claims filed by a "natural person".
  • Civil Protection Orders,
  • Name Change Petitions