District Court

Telephonic Appearance Instructions

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District Court Video Disposition Procedure


Temporary Changes to District Court Operations 

effective March 14, 2022


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 Emergency Order 22-03 Ongoing Court Operations and Mask Requirements.  This Emergency Order, replaces and supplants all of the Court’s previous orders.

• All CRIMINAL JURY TRIALS will continue to be held as scheduled.  All trial participants must follow the masking/social distancing requirement for jury trials in the San Juan County Courts' COVID-19 Jury Trial Plan.

• All out of custody criminal matters presently noted will continue to be held as scheduled.  Counsel and defendants may 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.

• All CIVIL JURY TRIALS will continue to be held as scheduled.

• Full-order hearings on Civil Protection Orders, 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 may be heard by telephone or video and participants are encouraged to appear remotely.

• The Court will consider ex parte motions or agreed orders, on a regular basis and should be 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.

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

• An electronic signature is a reliable means for authentication of documents and shall have the same force and effect as an original signature.   

• 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, the following requirements apply:

A.  Until March 30, 2022, all attendees and participants must wear masks/facial coverings unless there are fewer than 6 people (excluding the judge and clerk) in the courtroom.

B.  Beginning April 1, 2022, all attendees and participants are encouraged to wear masks/facial coverings if there are more than 6 people (excluding the judge and clerk) in the courtroom.

C.  Any person exhibiting signs of illness will be required to wear a mask/facial covering.

D.  Each person in the gallery is to sit at least 3 feet apart.

E.  The Court will not provide water to participants, but participants are invited to bring their own water bottles or to take a paper cup and fill it at the public water fountain.

· For all telephonic hearings, parties should refer to our website 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 Microsoft Teams.  The public is prohibited from recording or broadcasting any hearing.

• The District Court front counter has resumed its normal hours of operation, and the front counter will be available for most paper filing and money transactions from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

All court filings may be done through fax, at (360) 378-4099, or electronically by email, at dstct@sanjuanco.com. A document is considered electronically filed when a responsive email is provided by the Clerk. 

Everyone is encouraged to make any court or infraction payments through the payment deposit box, or by phone through Official Payments. 

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.

• Until further order, Court interpreters may appear by telephone or video.

• Civil Ceremonies, such as weddings and administration of oaths, will be performed by the District Court Judge as long as participants follow the posted rules and precautions.

Click here for the full text of Emergency Order 22-03.

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