Corona Virus and the Courts

On this page you will find videos, articles and other resources to help navigate the courts in the new virtual world.  Some items are available to everyone, while some are only available to KCBA members. 

If you select a video that was produced by our pro bono services department, you will see language that asks if you have permission (which you do) to view and also asks that you become a volunteer within six months.  Although we are always looking for volunteers, and hope you will consider volunteering, we understand that you may not be able to do so at this time.


Please join us for a FREE CLE program presented by the Washington Chapter of ABOTA.
  
Litigating Civil Jury Trials in 2021: A guide from the bench on how to navigate your case in the age of COVID-19
March 10, 2021 12:00pm-1:30pm PST
1.5 CLE credits 

 Register at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_e4WTQ4caTumBxpBodg5j6A  

A three judge panel discussion will present the latest information and tips to litigate a civil case within their respective jurisdictions.  Judge Marsha Pechman will discuss the latest information from the Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington, Judge Matt Williams and Judge Tim Ashcraft will present important information to litigate in King and Pierce County Superior Courts.
  
Panelists: 

  • Judge Marsha Pechman,   Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • Judge Matt Williams, King County Superior Court
  • Judge Tim Ashcraft, Pierce County Superior Court

 Moderators:

  • Roy Umlauf, Forsberg & Umlauf, P.S.
  • Tom Vertetis, Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC

 This CLE program is FREE to any interested attorney. Registration is required via the link above and is limited to the first 500 people. 
Once you register, you will receive an email with information for joining the webinar.


Supreme Court letter on court employees as essential workers for purposes of vaccination

Please click on this image to view Supreme Court letter.

Click on image for full sized version



Public Defender letter on prioritizing inmates, prisoners and public defenders for vaccination

Please click on this image to view Public Defender letter.

Click on image for full sized version


On Demand Videos (CLE)

COVID 19 Impact on Court Operations: Insights & Tools for Practicing in the King County Ex Parte Department
Commissioners Moore and Judson and Nadia Simpson, King County Superior Court (December 2020)
1.00 Law and Legal CLE Credit

  • Explore the technology adopted by King County Superior Court that enables lawyers to practice in this new virtual Ex Parte.
  • Discussion: platforms such as zoom and more that may aid in the way you connect and interact with clients, colleagues, and the Court.
  • Reviewed: court’s expectations as well as new and ongoing operational changes that go hand-in-hand with these tools.

Free for KCBA Members


2020 Annual Bench Bar Conference
November 2020
2.25 Law & Legal & 1.00 Ethics: Total of 3.25 CLE Credits

The Court and COVID-19 and the Role of the Court in Race Equity
Judges shared how their respective courts have adapted to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Role of the court of implementing and ensuring race equity in the court/justice system

Ethics in the Time of COVID-19
Tips and perspective of both civil and criminal law attorneys
RPCs that relate to the current COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Remote Trials – Lessons Learned
Pros and cons of remote trials from judges and attorneys who have actually been involved in them
Review survey on remote proceedings and trial and panelists

Free for KCBA Members and $79.00 for Non-KCBA Members


Remote Bench Trials in the King County Superior Court
An overview of the pretrial conference, preparing for a remote trial via Zoom, and remote trial procedure.
.50 Law & Legal and .75 Ethics CLE Credits: Total of 1.25 CLE Credits
Free to download for KCBA members and nonmembers.

Western District of Washington Court Operations During COVID-19
Changes to procedures and navigating the WAWD
Free to download (FBA is the CLE sponsor)
 


Bar Bulletin Articles

Family Law During the Coronavirus: Change is Good
“Change is good, change is good, change is good . . . ,“ I intone to myself as I walk into the courthouse each day. Well . . . not really; but perhaps I should. The central issues that we grapple with every day in family law have remained much the same — ensuring that children’s best interests are served when parents are in conflict, addressing families’ financial disputes consistent with law and equity, entering orders to protect adult and child victims of abuse. But there are new challenges associated with our current circumstances.

By Judge Janet Helson. - September 2020 Bar Bulletin – Read More>

Navigating Jury Selection Over Zoom
King County Superior Courts recently announced that voir dire will be mostly conducted over Zoom as part of the effort to resume civil jury trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. This move allows trials to resume without the need for large groups of people to be in the same place in order to conduct jury selection. It is an important step in balancing the public health with the need for the justice system to move forward. 

By Thomas M. O’Toole Ph.D. & Kevin Boully, Ph.D. - September 2020 Bar Bulletin – Read More>

Adapting Like Your COVID Jurors
Flick a folded paper football and you’ll hit someone with an opinion about how the pandemic is changing the jury pool. There is an overabundance of data about how the COVID-19 crisis is changing public opinion. Some data, including studies conducted by the authors’ companies, suggests perceptions of corporations are changing — some positive, some negative.

By Thomas M. O’Toole Ph.D. & Kevin Boully, Ph.D. - August 2020 Bar Bulletin – Read More>

Public Health Plans in Superior Court
The coronavirus is as present as ever, but lawyers are going back to work. They must. We have 1,300 people waiting in the jail for their cases to be tried, delayed by the virus. Hundreds of civil, family law and dependency cases are awaiting a resolution to their cases. We can’t simply wait for the vaccine to arrive. We could be waiting another calendar year — if we are lucky.

By Judge James Rogers - August 2020 Bar Bulletin – Read More>


From the Desk of the Presiding Judge: Learning to Try a Case in the Time of Coronavirus
All of us lawyers and judicial officials never contemplated, four months ago, that we would all be involuntarily receiving a crash course in videoconferencing technology. But the coronavirus will be with us for at least another year, and Superior Court must move back towards full capacity.

By Judge James Rogers I July 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read more>

Supreme Court Teleconferences: A Win for Diversity
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time ever the United States Supreme Court is conducting ten oral arguments by telephone conference. 

By Carolyn Ladd I June 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read More >

From the Desk of the Presiding Judge: The New Normal In Superior Court
Superior Court is increasing its capacity for all types of work, motions and trials, in the months of June and July. As I said last month, our access, our schedules and our trials will all be informed by public health.

By Judge James Rogers I June 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read More >


From the Desk of the Presiding Judge: Ramping Back up for Trials
Superior Court is preparing to reopen. The steps we take during these next few weeks will be measured and guided by public health considerations and advice from the Governor’s office. We anticipate that the Chief Justice will sign an order that will lift the ban on jury trials and leave the scheduling of all trials to local Superior Courts.

By Judge James Rogers I May 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read More >

COVID-19: Justice Delayed
The legal world is facing an unprecedented challenge due to the COVID-19 virus, and undeniably, one of the most affected fields is criminal defense. From the already overcrowded jails and prisons, to the chaos of courts finally shutting down and re-scheduling an insurmountable amount of hearings, the task at hand for defense counsel is increasingly complicated and demanding.

By Fatima Dilek I May 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read More >


From the Desk of the Presiding Judge: Law in the Time of Coronavirus
It feels like a year has passed since February 29th the date of what we thought at the time to be the first coronavirus death. Since then, our Governor issued a number of orders and proclamations, including the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order. 

By Judge James Rogers I April 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read More >

Prosecutors and Defense Attorneys Coordinate Coronavirus Response
In an unusual collaboration, the state’s criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors jointly proposed an order that the Washington Supreme Court adopted to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. The Court’s March 18, 2020 adopted order continued all non-emergency civil matters and most out-of-custody criminal matters until after April 24, 2020.

By Robert C. Boruchowitz I April 2020 Bar Bulletin I Read More >


Reports/Articles/and Additional Resources