Pursuant to the “Emergency Response to the COVID 19 Corona Virus issued by LEKT Executive Director Tonya Greene on March 16 , 2020, the Lower Elwha Tribal Court is currently subject to limited closure” and “telephonic hearings only. ” Until further order of the Court, the following shall govern Court operations .
During the COVID—19 emergency, the Justice Center, 341 Spokwes Drive, Port Angeles, WA 98363, is open from 8: 00 a.m. to noon . The LEPD Receptionist is at the reception desk during those hours (360-452-6759, ext. 2920) . Otherwise, there is a sign at the front door telling you whom to phone for access. Only persons having business at the Justice Center shall enter, excluding those experiencing symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Criminal defendants and litigants in civil cases shall appear for court hearings by phone. Attorneys/ advocates and Tribal employees may appear for court hearings in—person or by phone, subject to the Court’ s telephonic capacity. Parties appearing by phone shall call or email the Court Clerk at least 15 minutes prior to the hearing in order to provide the phone number where they wish to be called. The Court Clerk will also make an effort to obtain contact information from parties, but the burden for providing information is upon the parties. Failure to contact the Court in advance or failure to answer the phone at the appointed time, or during the entire calendar in the case of criminal matters, may result in a warrant, a default judgment, or other sanction. If the phone connection is poor, the call may be terminated by the Court and a decision may be made based upon information already provided.
In-Custody Criminal Matters
The Court Clerk will endeavor to arrange for an incarcerated defendant to appear by phone from the jail facility. If arrangements cannot be made and if defendant is unwilling to waive appearance, the Court Clerk will endeavor to arrange for transport by the LEPD to the Justice Center. If arrangements cannot be made, the Court may either continue the hearing or enter waiver on defendant’ s behalf.
Trials and Evidentiary Hearings
Except in exigent circumstances, the Court will not conduct jury trials, bench trials, or evidentiary hearings during the COVID-19 emergency. With respect to criminal cases and the right to speedy trial, the Court finds that the COVID-19 emergency provides strong justification for delay under Section
- 18 (2) (b) of the Lower El wha Judicial Code and Court
Procedures. As to any particular case after expiration of the COVID-19 emergency, the Court will be willing to consider other statutory factors under Section 6.18 (2) .
Documents of 10 pages or less in length, including attachments, may be filed with the Court by email, U.S . Mail, overnight or express delivery, or hand—delivery at the LEKT Justice Center reception desk. Documents of more than 10 pages, including attachments, may be filed by the same methods, except not by email. A party shall not apportion a document, including attachments, in more than one email or email attachment in order to avoid the 10—page rule. A party filing a document of more than 10 pages and wanting the Court Clerk to serve other parties shall submit enough additional copies for that purpose, along with another copy if a conforming copy is desired.
The Court Clerk will not be available to meet with parties in-person at the Justice Center. All contact with the Court Clerk shall be by phone (360-452-6759, ext. 2935) or by email (nylene . email@example.com) .
The Probation Officer will not be available to meet with parties in—person at the Justice Center. All contact with the Probation Officer shall be by phone (360-452-6759, ext . 2926) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As always, parties who are supervised by the Probation Officer, either pretrial or on probation status, will be subject to check-ins with the Probation Officer, as she requires, and will be accountable for compliance with court orders. Parties shall maintain contact with the Probation Officer and follow her directives. Parties shall keep the Probation Officer informed of their current physical address, mailing address, and phone number or message line.
Because the COVID—19 emergency is rapidly evolving locally, nationally, and worldwide this Administrative Order is subject to amendment on an ongoing, and perhaps urgent, basis. To the extent possible, the Court will consult with staff and counsel prior to modifications.
SO ORDERED this 18th day of March, 2020.
Susan M. Alexander