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Update from the Juvenile Court regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Activities

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and mandates to reduce public, work place, and social gatherings to the extent possible to limit exposure to and spread of the corona virus, the Clark Children & Family Justice Center is implementing immediately the following measures.

  • One courtroom will operate on a daily basis to hear critical matters.  Judges, bailiffs, court operations staff, and court clerks will run the court on a rotating daily basis.  To the extent possible, parties, counsel, and public members may participate in essential hearings by telephone and/or video conferencing, so long as constitutional, statutory, and court rule requirements are waived and/or addressed on the record. 
  • Critical offender matters include first appearance hearings, warrant returns and emergency detention reviews, in-custody arraignments, and matters that implicate public and/or youth safety.
  • Counsel are encouraged to resolve non-critical matters by agreement, submit written motions to the assigned judge to resolve without argument unless requested by the court, and to seek continuances.  Requests for emergency hearings should be submitted in writing to the judge assigned to the case. 
  • Community supervision of youth will continue, primarily through telephone and electronic modalities unless concerns arise regarding public and/or youth safety.
  • Truancy hearings are suspended, subject to school closures.
  • ARY/CHINS hearings are suspended unless child safety is paramount.
  • Resource Center staff and community partners are not physically present at the CFJC, but are available by telephone (206-263-8634) and email (  
  • When judges and employees are not required to staff operations and as their respective roles allow, they will be telecommuting.  Consequently, although not physically on site, judges and employees are working and accessible by telephone and electronic modalities.  

These Emergency Operations are expected to remain in place through May 2020, unless terminated earlier or extended as required in the interest of public health and safety.


All non-critical juvenile court hearings that are scheduled through April 2020 must be continued to a date in May 2020 or beyond. If counsel have not filed an order of continuance by March 30, 2020, the court will enter orders to continue those matters to a date in June 2020 and beyond. By agreement with the Prosecutor and CJ Stephens' Emergency Order of March 18, 2020, amended March 20, the prosecutor and the Respondent are not required to sign the continuance order. The court is giving counsel the next week to confer with clients to set new dates before the court sets the date. Counsel are responsible to notify their clients of new dates. Whether set by counsel or the court, dates -- as always -- may need to be rescheduled as circumstances develop. By virtue of the Supreme Court Order referenced above, the time between the date that is stricken and the youth's next hearing is EXCLUDED from calculating time to trial. JuCR 7.8(e)(3).


Non-critical juvenile court matters (primarily out-of-custody matters), have not been heard at CFJC since suspended in mid-March. Beginning the week of May 11, 2020, the court will begin adding out-of-custody arraignments, motions for deferred disposition, and CEDAR plea hearings on a limited basis. Most out-of-custody hearings will be conducted remotely, and scheduling must be done in consultation with and the approval of court staff. Increasing the number of cases beyond one or two per day will happen gradually, only with safe and effective remote technology and, where necessary, in-court proceedings that observe required public health measures that include social distancing, face masks, and sanitation supplies.

To schedule or attend a hearing being held remotely, or if you have questions about scheduling or attending an in-person hearing, contact the bailiff for the judge presiding over the matter: 

May 7, 2020  

The Juvenile Court handles all cases where a juvenile is accused of committing an offense. An offense is behavior that is a crime if done by an adult. Offenses may be misdemeanors (least serious), gross misdemeanors (more serious), or felonies (most serious).

Based on reports from law enforcement, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office may refer an offender case to "Diversion" (for low-level offenses) or may file an "Information" accusing the youth of committing an offense. If an information is filed, the juvenile must go to court.

Juvenile Court also handles traffic and civil infractions if the juvenile charged with the infraction is less than 16 years old. Infractions are not offenses. An example of a traffic infraction is speeding. An example of a civil infraction is underage smoking. 

The Juvenile Court process can be confusing if you are new to the court. The following links may help you find your way:

The following video provides an overview of the Juvenile Court process:

The following resource booklet provides a wealth of information for families involved with the juvenile justice system.

The King County Department of Public Defense provides legal services to children who are facing criminal charges in Juvenile Court or youth facing at-risk youth, CHINS or truancy petitions. Go here to read about the kinds of legal services Public Defense provides. Or call (206) 477-9727 to see if you qualify for a public defender.”

Information about the Children and Family Justice Center

A variety of programs serve the public and assist you involved in, or at risk of involvement in, juvenile offender cases. These include:

A variety of juvenile offender forms are also available online.

Learn about the history of Juvenile Court in annual reports stretching back to 1911.

For King County Superior Court Annual Reports from 1998-present, please visit THIS WEBPAGE.

To contact the Juvenile Court visit the Contact Superior Court webpage.

All juvenile offender hearings take place at the Clark Children and Family Justice Center/Juvenile Court in Seattle. Juvenile Detention also is located there.