Lewis County to Resume Jury Trials Starting March 1 After Nearly a Year on Hold

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Lewis County Superior Court will be resuming jury trials starting on Monday, March 1.

The trials will be held in two off-site locations as well as Superior Court on the fourth floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis.

Aside from a brief period of reopening in October, jury trials have been on hold in Lewis County Superior Court since March 2020. The most recent general order, dated Dec. 24, put all civil and criminal jury trials on hold through Feb. 28, 2021 at recommendation of Lewis County Public Health and the Washington State Supreme Court.

Bench trials — trials where a judge hears a case and makes a decision without a jury — were not suspended. 

In a previous interview with The Chronicle, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer stated that when jury trials resume, his office will prioritize in-custody cases and cases with victims, and then make a plan for dealing with the rest of the trial backlog from there. 

To handle the backlog, Meyer said that all criminal attorneys in the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office will be interchangeable on all cases, with the exception of sensitive or complex cases that require one attorney to follow it for the duration of the trial. Civil attorneys may also be brought in to do criminal cases as needed, Meyer said. 

More information will be provided later this month, said Superior Court in a press release.

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