Temporary Courtroom Change
Pierce County Superior Court is notifying the public about a change of court operations for August 30, 31 and September 1, 2016. In order to accommodate the installation of a Court History Project in Courtroom 100. Superior Court will be moving Court Commissioner duties from Courtroom 100 to Courtroom 217-A for all three days. Courtroom 217-A is located on the second floor of the County-City Building. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you have any questions about this move, you may call our Commissioner Services Department at 253-798-6697.
2017 Pierce County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner
An applicant must have a minimum of five years of experience as an attorney in the State of Washington and may not serve as a pro tem commissioner if appointed or serving as a Guardian Ad Litem for compensation under Title 11, 13 or 26. If you have any questions, please contact the Commissioners Services Department at (253) 798-6697.
Commissioner Kiesel named Jurist of the Year
Superior Court is proud to announce that our own Commissioner Diana Kiesel was named the Jurist of the Year by the Washington State Bar Association Family Law Section. Commissioner Kiesel received her award last Friday in Vancouver. Congratulations Commissioner Kiesel.
The Pierce County Superior Court had a special visitor view court on June 7,2016. Yvette Sablan, Special Assistant on Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation to the Office of the Governor, observed Pierce County Family Recovery Court and Pierce County Felony Drug Court. Ms. Sablan met with the Honorable Elizabeth Martin and various members of the Felony Drug Court team to discuss drug court and what they have learned in the past 21 years since it was first established in Pierce County.
On March 17th 2016, Governor Ralph Torres signed a bill funding a Drug Court in the CNMI. In preparation for the implementation of their newly developed drug court program Ms. Sablan attended the 22nd Annual National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference the first week of June in Anaheim, CA and then travelled to Pierce County to learn about how our programs operate. She plans on visiting the Felony Drug Court program in Marion County, Oregon.
Ms. Sablan indicated that their drug court program will utilize a public owned treatment facility that will provide long term residential treatment for the drug court population. Currently, the CNMI is experiencing a rise in Methamphetamine use amongst its population. She will take back everything she learned at the NADCP Conference and while visiting the Pierce County and Marion County Drug Court programs to finalize program policy and procedures.
Ms. Sablan stated, "The Pierce County Felony Drug Court was my first drug court visit and experience. I have served as a judge's secretary in a punitive court, but today, I witnessed a judicial system that cares about every individual that walked through its door. Watching Judge Martin encourage and engage positively with the participants was quite an experience. Pierce County may have a never ending war on drugs, but it is a battle that is winning back lives and giving hope to the wounded.”
The CNMI hopes to begin admitting participants into their program in August 2016.
JURY SCAMS ON THE RISE
The Pierce County Superior Court would like to remind residents that no representative from the Pierce County Superior Court or the Sheriff’s Office would come to your home and speak to you about missing Jury Duty. Recently a man, unknown description, came to a residence in Pierce County and asked to speak to “the mom” who had missed Jury Duty. The family members told this subject their Mother was not home and she had not missed Jury Duty. The subject left the residence. If you have someone show up to your house and claim to be a representative from Pierce County, please ask to see identification. If they cannot prove who they are, call 911 and report the fraud to the local law enforcement.
Pierce County Superior Court honors jurors May 16-20
Pierce County Superior Court is sponsoring Juror Appreciation Week from May 16-20 to recognize the important service that residents provide on jury duty and to highlight and honor and importance of that service.
Last year, 19,881 citizens served on a jury in Pierce County. Jurors served on Superior Court, District Court, and Tacoma Municipal Court trials. They were selected from 83,249 people who were summoned to duty.
To recognize jurors for their service, Superior Court Presiding Judge Frank E. Cuthbertson will read a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee to jurors. In addition, the Pierce County Council voted unanimously on May 3 to adopt Resolution 2016-49, recognizing Juror Appreciation Week.
“We thank the more than 19,000 jurors who reported to jury duty last year,” Cuthbertson said. “We understand jury duty can be inconvenient, but the right to a jury trial is fundamental to our liberty and democracy. That’s why we commend the thousands of Pierce County citizens who reported to serve on a jury."
In honor of Juror Appreciation Week, court staff will provide jurors snacks and are encouraged to wear “We Appreciate Our Jurors” buttons.
More information is available at www.piercecountywa.org/jury.
NOTICE: Beginning May 1, 2016, new pattern forms will be accepted for all family law case and required as of July 1, 2016. Please see the new pattern forms at www.courts.wa.gov/forms beginning on May 1, 2016.
Left to right: Benjamin Bauldauf, Jim Bolz, Davida Cohen, Marianne Clear, Judge Elizabeth Martin, Jerry Burrage, Michael Howard, Jamie Bonomo, Judge Edmund Murphy, Dea Finigan, Lisa Sinnitt
Jury duty scams on the rise
Jury coordinators in Pierce County have received several reports this week of scammers working the phones to trick residents into believing they owe a fine for missing jury duty.
Here’s what to look out for:
An unsuspecting person receives a call informing them that they have missed their summons to come to Jury Duty and now have a warrant out for their arrest. They are told the only way to fix the situation is to purchase a cash card from the store, call back a phone number they are given and provide the scammer the numbers on the card. Within minutes the scammers have received the money.
One local man was told he missed his Jury Duty notice twice and now had several fines against him, including a fine for Failure to Appear and Contempt of Court. His “fines” totaled $2,500. He followed the instructions he was given and went to a store, purchased the Visa-style cash cards, dutifully called the scammer’s phone number and gave them the numbers on his cash cards.
Please keep in mind that Pierce County jury coordinators will not call residents. Those summoned for Jury Duty will receive official notices in the mail.
Myths and Misperceptions about Courts
Do you wonder who the courts work for? Who can give you legal advice? To find out the answer to these and other questions check out this video - Myths and Misperceptions About the Washington Courts.
Juror Appreciation Week
New Criminal Division Presiding Judge (CDPJ) Protocols
New Mandatory Impact on Children Seminar Offered for Non-Parental Custody Petitioners
Changes to Ex Parte Procedure
Archived Superior Court News