COVID-19

A message from Chief Judge Bastian regarding protective measures related to COVID-19

 

Court Operations Under Exigent Circumstances created by COVID-19:

  • Pending criminal cases (District Court and Magistrate Court), the Court finds that using video conferencing or telephone conferencing when necessary would result in minimizing undue risk to defendants, counsel, law enforcement, Court staff,  witnesses,  and the public at large.  Accordingly, the Court will continue to encourage and use these tools for those hearings allowed by General Order 20-101-13 and the CARES Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136, when ordered by the presiding judge.

  • Hearings in civil and criminal matters set for telephonic appearance by all parties or hearings set without oral argument remain unaffected.

  • Magistrate Judge hearings and functions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; and

  • At this time, the Spokane, Yakima and Richland Clerks Offices will require advance notice prior to the posting of a criminal bond.  Appointments are available in all Court locations by contacting the Clerk’s Office at the numbers listed below.  Please contact only the office in which the bond will be posted on behalf of your client.

              Spokane Clerk's Office:       509-458-3400

              Richland Clerk’s Office:       509-943-8170

              Yakima Clerk’s Office:          509-573-6600

  • Notice to Public Access Terminal Users in Spokane, Yakima and Richland - If you need assistance with accessing court documents and are not able, or cannot afford to use PACER.gov, please call the appropriate number listed above.
  • All non-case related events scheduled to be held in the District’s courthouses, including naturalization proceedings and outreach events, are postponed pending further order of the Court.

  • Contact the Bankruptcy Court directly for guidance on bankruptcy proceedings.

See General Order 20-101-13 for additional information.

TEMPORARY RESTRICTIONS REGARDING ACCESS TO THE COURT: 

The Spokane Federal Courthouse, the Yakima Federal Courthouse and the court floors of the Richland Federal Courthouse are now closed to the public through December 31, 2020, with the exception of essential in-person hearings and functions, which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the presiding judge.  See General Order 20-101-13 and Richland Courthouse and Federal Building Order No. 20-10 for additional information.

All persons seeking entry to, or occupying, the Federal Courthouses in all three locations must wear a mask. See General Order 20-101-13,  Administrative Order 20-04, Richland Courthouse and Federal Building Order No. 20-04 and FSC Order No. 20-01 for additional information.

           Prior CARES ACT Orders:

 Prior FSC Orders:

Physical access to urgent in-person proceedings scheduled at this time will be limited to parties, counsel, witnesses and victims.

The Clerk’s Office in Spokane, Richland and Yakima will not be physically accessible to the public through December 31, 2020, but will remain open. Those seeking to make in-person filings or payments are directed to leave such materials in designated drop-boxes at the Court Security Officer locations (guard stations) in the entryway of each courthouse. The Court encourages electronic filings made through the CM/ECF filing system, use of the electronic payment system, and use of mail and delivery services.

The Clerk’s Office is not closed, it is operational, and you may contact the office by telephone during business hours. Staff will be available by telephone, mail will be received, and new filings will be processed.


Notice Regarding Press and Public Access to Court Hearings
 
Effective immediately, the audio content of hearings held in the Eastern District of Washington throughout the COVID-19 pandemic event will be available in real-time to members of the press and public via a dedicated teleconference line.  This access will be free of charge.  Dial-in information will be available on PACER via the docket for each scheduled case.   Hearing content provided in such manner must NOT be recorded or rebroadcast. 


COVID-19 Response - CM/ECF and PACER Access As Public Access Terminal

Pursuant to General Order No. 20-101-13, the physical Clerk’s Offices in Spokane, Richland and Yakima are inaccessible to the public.  The Court’s electronic filing system (CM/ECF) and Public Access to Court’s Electronic Records (PACER) system continue to be available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.  Individuals who are unable to effectively access desired court records through either of these systems should contact the Clerk’s Office to seek assistance and/or special accommodation.