The Clallam County Superior Court is a court of general statewide jurisdiction. The Superior Courts are the principal trial courts for the state. The Superior Court is also a court of record. In Clallam County that record is provided in most instances by the county's official court reporters. The Clallam County Courts have hearing impaired amplification devices available in each courtroom and, in instances where such devices are insufficient, there is availability of real time court reporting services, which allows participants to read testimony on a television screen within seconds of the testimony being taken.
The Clallam County Superior Court also has three subdivisions which provide specialized court services: juvenile court, family court, and our newly formed drug courts. These case types are heard in the Clallam County Superior Court and its subdivisions:
- Criminal felony cases
- Civil cases, (including appeals from administrative decisions, appeals from lower courts and from small claims courts)
- Domestic cases
- Probate and guardianship matters
- Paternity and adoption matters
- Mental illness filings
- Juvenile dependency filings
- Juvenile offender cases
- Truancy cases
The Clallam County Superior Court has three judges elected on a countywide basis to four year terms of office. They are Judge Erik Rohrer, Judge Christopher Melly and Judge Brian Coughenour. Judge Rohrer currently serves as Presiding Judge. In addition, the Superior Court has a full time Court Commissioner, W. Brent Basden. The Superior Court Administrator is Lindy Clevenger. These individuals may be reached at the following telephone number: (360) 417-2386. Superior Court Fax number: (360) 417-2581. The Clallam County Juvenile Court Administrator is Pete Peterson whose telephone number is (360) 417-2282.
Clallam County Superior Court has adopted local court rules. These court rules are available at http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_rules/?fa=court_rules.list&group=superior&set=supcll.
Clallam County Superior Courts' hours of operation are from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday through Friday. Civil and criminal ex parte motion calendars are held at 1:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. The contested motion calendar is held on Fridays for both civil and criminal cases. In addition hearings on protection order requests are heard on Fridays at 10:30 A.M. in the family court.
Bench copies are encouraged for all contested motions. They should be marked "bench copy" with the scheduled date and time of the hearing and the name of the judge who is hearing the matter indicated on the copy. They should be sent to the Superior Court Clerk's office in care of the above address.
Many of the trials heard in Clallam County are trials heard by a jury. If you are selected for Superior Court jury duty, your term will be two weeks. Rescheduling the time of your jury duty and other juror requests should be directed through the Superior Court Jury Clerk, who may be reached at (360) 417-2362. Prospective jurors should call for a recorded jury message the evening prior to their jury term service at (360) 417-2450. This number provides the latest information about cases on which the jurors may be required to serve.
Clallam County Superior Court is a leader in the state of Washington in many areas. For many years Clallam County had the first and only unified family court in the State of Washington. Under a unified family court system one judge hears all matters which might pertain to a family's legal issues. Commissioner W. Brent Basden, who serves as the Family Court Judge.
Clallam County Juvenile Court constructed a new youth services facility to serve this county in 1994. The Juvenile Court has been awarded many competitive grants and operates several innovative projects. Mr. Peterson was named the State Juvenile Court Administrator of the Year in 1993, 1995 and 2015. He also received a President's Award in 2004 and 2009.
On July 1, 1997 Clallam County began operation of the first juvenile drug court in the State of Washington and, in 1999, began an adult drug court. Drug Courts are revolutionizing the justice system. The strategy in drug court departs from traditional practice by placing nonviolent drug abusing offenders into intensive court supervised drug treatment for at least one year instead of jail. Those who fail to successfully complete treatment are sentenced routinely. Experience has shown that through drug court programs many offenders stop using drugs, start working to support their families and end their criminal activity, all at a far lower cost to the taxpayers than incarceration. The re-arrest rates among drug court graduates are dramatically lower than for other drug abusing offenders.