District Court

Telephonic Appearance Instructions

Immediate Temporary Changes to District Court Operations from March 17, 2020 to November 1, 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 the Fourth Amended Emergency Order, Corrected 20-07:

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

• All in custody and out of custody criminal matters presently noted will be held on a staggered schedule to reduce potential person-to-person contact.  Counsel and defendants may appear telephonically except for preliminary appearances, arraignments, criminal motions, changes of plea and sentencing hearings.

• Arraignments and preliminary appearances for out of custody cases filed between March 18, 2020 and July 3, 2020, except for DUI preliminary appearances which will be heard the next judicial day.  After July 3, 2020, arraignments and preliminary appearances shall be scheduled as normal.

• For more information in custody and out of custody criminal matters, please see sections 2 and 3 of the court’s emergency order 20-07.

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

• 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 after August 18, 2020.  

• 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 20-07.

• 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 20-07.

• 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.  

• Court participants and visitors entering the courtroom are asked to sign a log at the rear of the courtroom so they may be reached in the event that contract tracing for any confirmed case of COVID-19 is needed.

• For all hearings that take place telephonically, parties should contact the clerk for instructions on how to call in for the hearing.

• 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


• 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: 360-370-7442.

• Court interpreters may appear by telephone.

• Civil Ceremonies, such as weddings and administration of oaths, performed by the District Court Judge will resume August 3, 2020.

• This emergency order modifies all San Juan County Local Court Rules inconsistent herewith and replaces and supplants the Court’s previous order, the Third Amended Emergency Order No. 20-05.

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