Lewis County Superior Court: Jury Trials Resume After a Two-Month Suspension

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After a two-month suspension, jury trials have resumed in Lewis County.

Lewis County Superior Court initially issued the suspension on Aug. 20, citing information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with guidance from local officials, the state Supreme Court and Gov. Jay Inslee’s restrictions regarding COVID-19 as reasons for limiting court operations through at least the week of Sept. 20. The suspension was then renewed twice until it expired the week of Nov. 1.

The suspension marked the second time Lewis County Superior Court has put jury trials on hold since the start of the pandemic.

The first suspension, which put jury trials on hold from March 2020 to March 2021, amassed a backlog of hundreds of cases, according to Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

“It’s nice that we’re back to trials, it’s going to do a little to help with the backlog,” said Meyer, adding that with only one Superior Court courtroom that’s large enough to accommodate a full jury trial with social distancing, it's going to take a significant amount of time to work through the backlog.

The prosecutor’s office is currently prioritizing cases with defendants who are still in custody and cases that involve victims.

“We’re going to do anything we can to make sure anyone who wants to go to trial gets to go to trial whenever they’re ready,” said Meyer.

Jury selection and orientation is still taking place at RE Bennett Elementary School and at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds.

For more information about reporting for jury duty, visit lewiscountywa.gov/offices/clerk/jury-reporting-instructions.