Spokane Tribal Court Announcement

6209 Agency Square Rd.
P.O. Box 225
Wellpinit, WA 99040
Tel: 509.258.7717
Fax: 509.258.9223
HEALTH EMERGENCY – Recognizing the state of emergency that still exists due to the COVID-19 virus, this emergency standing order shall be in effect for the Spokane Tribal Court until rescinded by the Spokane Tribal Court Chief Judge. This order shall apply to all persons who are transacting business with Spokane Tribal Court and shall include but is not limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, jurors and community members.
1. Courthouse Access: The Courthouse is open to the Public, but the following process shall be followed to gain admittance to the Courthouse. An individual needing assistance may come to the door and knock at which time the following procedure must be followed:
a. The individual must sanitize their hands and put on a face mask before staff approach them.
b. Court staff will ask a series of health screening questions via the intercom system consistent with tribal policy and CDC guidelines and take the individuals temperature. If a person answers yes to any of the questions or has a fever of 100.4 or above, they will not be allowed entrance into the building and all transactions will remain via the intercom. Staff will collect and provide any paperwork through the door.
c. The individual will sign the sign-in sheet and note who they are here to see.
2. Tribal Court Forms are located on the Spokane Tribe’s website for individuals to download and use. If there is a form you need but do not see on the website please call the Court and we will send them to you as requested.
3. Civil Matters: Civil matters that had been scheduled prior to the shutdown will be scheduled as soon as possible. Telephonic and video conferencing appearance will be liberally allowed. The Court will provide the contact information in the Notice of Hearing. If a party has a smartphone and service, they can download the CISCO/Webex app from Google play and Apple Store for use on their cell phones. If they cannot appear via video conference they can call in to the hearing via phone or appear at the courthouse in-person. If an individual plans on appearing via phone or video conference they must notify the Court at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. Any documents or evidence to be presented to the Court at the hearing must be provided to the Court at least five (5) days in advance of the hearing and served on the opposing party to give everyone time to review prior to the hearing just in case parties intend to appear via phone or video. Any evidence not filed with the Court within this time frame will not be admitted.
4. Criminal Matters: Criminal trials shall resume in July. Until this time all time up to July 15, 2020 shall be an excluded time period for purposes of speedy trial. In addition, any essential criminal in-custody hearings, including first appearances on mandatory arrest charges shall continue to be conducted telephonically or via video conferencing. Criminal defendants that come to the Court are to remain outside until their case is called. All individuals must sanitize their hands and put a mask on before entering the courtroom. The Court also asks that individuals continue to follow social distancing guidelines and remain at least 6 feet apart when they are waiting for their case to be called. If a defendant is sick and exhibiting any of the symptoms of Co-Vid19 they can appear via phone or video conferencing or request a continuance, but they must contact their attorney and Court staff to ensure this is noted in the records. All defendants will be screened per CDC guidelines when they come to the Court.
5. Criminal Jury Trials: All jury trials shall be set for a mandatory two-day period. The first day shall be devoted to last minute pre-trial issues and jury voir dire. Pre-trial issues will commence at 9:00am. The voir dire of the jury shall be done in stages to ensure that adequate social distancing can be maintained between all individuals in the courtroom. Ten jurors will be asked to appear at 10:00 am and will go through the voir dire process. An additional ten jurors will be asked to appear at 11:00am and so on and so forth every hour on the hour until seven jurors are found, at which point the voir dire phase of the trial will be adjourned and the trial can commence.
6. Staff will wear masks at all times when interacting with the public. The Court room will be sanitized and cleaned between hearings and the docket will be reduced to half to ensure adequate time for cleaning.
7. Filings: The Court shall accept all court filings either via e-mail, fax or mail at the following e-mail addresses – Kerbi.wallette@spokanetribe.com, Tristan.seyler@spokanetribe.com, Alleana.daily@spokanetribe.com or at PO Box 225, Wellpinit, WA 99040 or you may drop off the filings at the Court as stated in Paragraph #1.
8. UA Tests: UA tests will be conducted on Wednesdays and Fridays so long as the Court has adequate PPE for court staff. Employment and/or Housing related UA tests shall be done on these days by appointment only. Please call the Court to make your appointment and please arrive on-time. Staff will screen people prior to conducting the UA per tribal and CDC guidelines.
9. Questions: If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call the court at 509.258.7717. In addition, the Spokane Tribal Court has a Facebook page that you can post your question on and we will respond to these questions as soon as we can. Please be patient as service is sometimes limited in some areas, but we will respond as quickly as we can.
Above all the Court staff wish you all good health.
Dated this 1st Day of June, 2020.
Chief Judge, Theresa Thin Elk