District Court

Telephonic Appearance Instructions 

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District Court Video Disposition Procedure


Immediate Temporary Changes to District Court Operations from March 17, 2020 to February 26, 2021

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 the Fifth Amended Emergency Order, Corrected 20-09 and First Amended Emergency Order 21-02 which replaces and supplants paragraph 1 of the Fifth Amended Emergency Order, Corrected 20-09:

• All CRIMINAL JURY TRIALS are CONTINUED to a term after February 26, 2021.  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 held on a staggered schedule to reduce potential person-to-person contact.  Counsel and defendants should appear by telephone (or Teams video conference, if available) as long as counsel has the opportunity for continuous and confidential discussion with the defendant or waives such opportunity.  In person appearance is required for preliminary appearances, arraignments, criminal motions, changes of plea and sentencing hearings.

• All in custody matters presently noted shall be presumed to be heard by video unless otherwise ordered.  In person appearance is required for preliminary appearances, arraignments, criminal motions, changes of plea and sentencing hearings.

• For more information in custody and out of custody criminal matters, please see sections 2 and 3 of the court’s emergency order 20-09.

• NO CIVIL JURY TRIAL will be set for a date prior to February 15, 2021.

• Civil motions, infraction matters (the court will continue to accept written statements by mail and email), small claims matters, impound of vehicle or vessel and impound of animal hearings MUST be heard telephonically until at least January 20, 2021.

• Name Change Petitions, which require only one party to appear and cannot be held telephonically, will be held in person.

• 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. These matters must be conducted by telephone unless impossible.  For more information on civil protection orders, please see section 7 of the court’s emergency order 20-09.

• An electronic signature is a reliable means for authentication of documents and shall have the same force and effect as an original signature.   For more information, please see section 8 of the court’s emergency order 20-09.

• Orders entered by the District Court Judge will be served on all attorneys and un-represented parties by the Court Administrator or Clerk via email.  Attorneys are required to provide an email address to the court.

• For all in-person hearings each person in the gallery must sit at least six feet apart, use the hand sanitizer at counsel tables, and each person in the courtroom must cover their face with a mask, scarf, or other facial covering.  

• Members of the public are permitted and encouraged to call-in to observe and/or participate in hearings.  The court shall make the audio of its hearings available to the public via live streaming in real time.  A link to the live stream is available at: https://sanjuanco.com/1692/District-Court-Live-Stream

• 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: 360-378-5471.

• Court interpreters may appear by telephone.

• Civil Ceremonies, such as weddings and administration of oaths, will be performed by the District Court Judge for San Juan County residents only until at least January 19, 2021.

Emergency Order 20-09 and Emergency Order 21-02 modify all San Juan County Local Court Rules inconsistent herewith.

Click here for the entire text of the court's First Amended Emergency Order 21-02.

Click here for the entire text of the court's Emergency Order on Jury Trials.

Click here for the entire text of the court's Fifth Amended Emergency Administrative Order, Corrected.

Click here for the entire text of the court’s Fourth Amended Emergency Administrative Order, Corrected.

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

Click here for the entire text of the court’s Second Amended Emergency Administrative 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