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Changes in Juvenile Court Offender Operations in Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health mandates to reduce in-person gatherings, in mid-March 2020, the Clark Children & Family Justice Center (the Courthouse) limited offender operations to “essential matters” only, which were conducted in one courtroom for approximately 45 days.  In May 2020, as the situation improved, and consistent with public health guidelines, the Courthouse gradually increased the number and type of hearings it conducted.

As of July 13, 2020, the following procedures will operate at the Courthouse until further notice:

Health and Safety Measures in all CFJC Courtrooms
  • The Court actively encourages participation by telephone or video, as permitted by law. Please contact your attorney or the appropriate Court at the number below.
  • All participants and members of the public are required to wear masks or facial coverings unless:
    • You are prevented for doing so for medical or ADA reasons;
    • You are a child under age 5; or
    • A Judge permits you to temporarily remove the mask to facilitate clear articulation and recording of the proceedings.

The Court will have masks available for use free of charge.

  • Social distancing is required as follows:
    • For those that appear in person, members of the public may congregate and sit only in designated spaces.
    • In-court seating priority will be given to family members of the parties involved in the proceeding.
    • If courtroom seating is insufficient to accommodate all who wish to attend, arrangements can be made to live-stream proceedings to another location at the CFJC or to participate by video or audio. To the extent possible, alternative accommodations must be made in advance of the proceeding.
    • Members of the media are encouraged to contact the assigned judge’s bailiff to arrange for media participation in advance of any hearing they would like to attend.
  • Other measures:
    • Courthouse personnel are sanitizing surface space regularly.
    • The Court will have hand sanitizer and disinfecting cleaning supplies in all public areas, including courtrooms for the public’s use.
Courtroom Operations
  • At this time, the Juvenile Offender calendar is fully operational, running two courtrooms (4D/4C in July 2020, and 3D/3C in August) each business day. Those courtrooms are assigned matters on a geographic basis, as was standard before the pandemic, as follows:
    • Courtroom 4D (in July) and 3D (in August): generally the north end of the County; and
    • Courtroom 4C (in July) and 3C (in August): generally the south end of the County.
  • A third courtroom (4A in July; 3A in August) is also operating on an as-needed basis to address the existing back-log of cases ready to proceed to trial, as well as the Seattle-based ARY-CHINS calendar Monday afternoons.
  • Again, the Court encourages all possible hearings to be conducted remotely.
  • Community supervision of youth will continue, primarily through telephone and electronic modalities. Person-to-person supervision will increase over time with public health measures being observed.
  • Truancy hearings continue to be suspended, subject to school closures.
Contact Information for Further Information
  • When Resource Center staff and community partners are not physically present at the CFJC, they are available by telephone (206-263-8634) and email (SCResourceCenter@kingcounty.gov).
  • When Resource Center staff and community partners are not physically present at the CFJC, they are available by telephone (206-263-8634) and email (SCResourceCenter@kingcounty.gov).

July 20, 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.