Submitted by San Juan County District Court.
As of January 19, 2022, San Juan County Superior and District Courts have entered new emergency orders postponing all jury trials until mid-February, due to high transmission rates of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
San Juan County has experienced a resurgence of COVID-19 cases since December of 2021, when COVID transmission rates began dramatically increasing across the State of Washington. The spike in cases has been attributed to the “omicron” variant of COVID-19, which is highly infectious compared to earlier strains, even among vaccinated individuals. San Juan County is now experiencing its highest case counts to date, with new cases increasing by an alarming degree. Our surrounding counties of Skagit, Whatcom, and Island County are experiencing extremely high transmission rates and statewide rates continue to climb exponentially.
Although the symptoms of the omicron variant may be less severe, the record-high rates of transmission have led to large numbers of patients needing hospital care. Healthcare systems in our county and statewide have been pushed to capacity.
“We’ve consulted with our local health officials and we’ve reviewed the data from the Washington State Department of Health,” said Superior Court Judge Kathryn Loring. “While we believe that we have the tools and practices to keep people safe in the courtroom, such as KN95 mask requirements, we simply do not believe it is responsible to bring large groups of potential jurors together for mandatory jury services given the dramatic spike in COVID transmission and pressure on the healthcare systems. Hopefully the predictions for a similarly steep decline in transmission rates of the omicron variant will prove to be true.”
Given the current concerns, the Superior Court and District Court have both entered emergency orders postponing jury trials. No jury trials will occur until a date after February 18, 2022.
All potential jurors who have been summoned for service between now and February 18 are released from service by these orders.
If you have been summoned for jury service after February 18, you can call the Jury Information Hotline to check on the status of jury trials or leave a voice message for the Jury Manager with any questions.
Other court hearings are not being postponed, but most matters can be heard telephonically or by video if the parties do not want to participate in person.
“When we start sending out jury summons again, please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions,” said District Court Judge Carolyn Jewett. “We’re happy to explain the measures we’ve taken to protect all potential jurors, and we’re keeping up to date on the latest health guidance. We hope everyone can feel safe when they walk into one of our courtrooms.”
If you have questions, please use any of the following contact information.
For jury service questions –
Jury Information Hotline: 360-378-9407
Jury Manager email – email@example.com
Questions for Superior Court Administration –
Phone: (360) 370-7480
Questions for Superior Court Clerk and County Clerk’s Office –
Phone: (360) 378-2163
Questions for District Court –
Phone: (360) 378-4017