by Michele Taylor, criminal defense attorney
You may have questions about how our criminal courts are operating during the pandemic. Both Kitsap County District Court and Kitsap County Superior Court closed for routine business in March through April 24, 2020. Below is the key COVID-19 criminal courts information for this time.
You have a bench warrant
Your outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in either Superior or District Court is still in effect. As a result, you are subject to arrest. If you are concerned about an outstanding bench warrant, contact your attorney of record. It may be possible to set up a phone or video hearing to quash the warrant and reset dates for after April 24, 2020.
You have a court date in March or April and are not in custody
In Kitsap County District Court
If you have a criminal matter(s) in Kitsap County District Court in March or April 2020, you may have some questions about what is happening. At this time Kitsap County District Court is shut down to all but emergency hearings due to the on-going Coronavirus Pandemic.
It will remain closed through at least April 24, 2020. In other words, you will not need to appear at your currently scheduled court date. The Court is rescheduling all pretrials, motions to revoke, and other hearings presently scheduled on the out-of-custody criminal calendars. The new dates are approximately 90 days out from the currently scheduled date. District Court staff will mail summonses out to the last address on file with the Court for the named defendant. No bench warrants will be issued by the Court at this time for non-appearance.
In Kitsap County Superior Court
Kitsap County Superior Court is also shut down to all but emergency hearings on criminal matters due to the Pandemic.
It will remain closed through at least April 24, 2020. You will not need to appear at your court date if it is set on or before April 24, 2020. All trials scheduled on the out of custody criminal calendars through April 24, 2020, are being rescheduled. The new date will be at least 28 days out from the currently scheduled date. For example, a court date set for March 31 will be rescheduled for April 28 or later.
At this time, if your next hearing is an Omnibus hearing occurring on or before April 24, 2020, it will not be held (it will be administratively stricken). As a result, your next court date will become your Trial date. Please know that it is unlikely Trial will happen on the date scheduled if your Omnibus is not held (administratively stricken).
If your next regular court date in Superior Court is on or before April 24, 2020, you should not appear in person for your hearing. You will need to contact your retained/appointed attorney to verify your next court date after April 24, 2020, if you do not have your last scheduling order from the Court. The courts will not issue a bench warrant for failure to appear through April 24, 2020.
Released on personal recognizance or bail
If you have been released on PR or subject to posted bail in either Court, you must continue to abide by all conditions of release set in your case. These can include contact orders, as well as restrictions on driving and the use of alcohol, marijuana, and non-prescribed drugs. If you have questions about your court date or conditions of release or the need to appear in Court, please contact your attorney of record.