DC Courts Provide Remote Sites for People to Use to Appear for Court Cases
The DC Courts have begun offering sites across the District for those without computers or WiFi at home to use when they need to appear for an online court hearing. While court hearings can take place via a smartphone, due to the importance of the proceeding and the number of parties in certain cases participating from a computer is advantageous. For cases in which a person is alleging domestic violence, a safe location with a security officer present is essential.
"We are pleased to be able to offer these sites as part of the DC Courts' ongoing effort to ensure access to justice for all in our city. We recognize that there is a digital divide, and while we as a community work to address it, clearly it still exists. Measures such as these can help reduce the impact of that divide. There are few areas as important for everyone to have equal access than the courthouse," said Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby.
The remote locations are in all four quadrants of the city:
- The Superior Court's Balanced and Restorative Justice Center at 1110 V Street, SE (near the 'Big Chair'),
- The Superior Court's Balanced and Restorative Justice Center at 118 Q Street, NE
- The Superior Court's Balanced and Restorative Justice Center at 1215 South Capitol Street, SW
- The Superior Court's Balanced and Restorative Justice Center at 925 Rhode Island Avenue, NE
- The Franklin D. Reeves Municipal Center at 2000 14th Street, NW in the 2nd floor Community Room
"As part of our on-going efforts to ensure Access to Justice for all in our community, the Court is providing facilities across the city so that those without a home computer or WiFi connection may participate fully in their hearing, including seeing all other participants," said Chief Judge Robert E. Morin. "The pandemic has dramatically expanded our use of technology, and we are pleased that we are able to hold the vast majority of our hearings remotely, but for those without home computers and/or WiFi, it's not the same. These centers will help address that inequity." The Chief Judge added "We at the DC Courts appreciate partnering with the executive branch to offer remote space in the Reeves Center as part of this effort."
Those interested in scheduling a time to use a remote location should call 202/879-1900 or email DCCourtsRemoteSites@dcsc.gov at least 24 hours before their scheduled hearing to reserve a computer station. When parties call or email, they can indicate if they need an interpreter or other assistance..
The Court recommends that people bring the following to the site for their remote hearing session:
- The case number and any hyperlinks provided by the Court for the hearing,
- Any documentation that they might need to provide the court during the hearing, such as evidence in the case,
- Pen and paper or other means of notetaking
- A mask or other face covering
The remote access sites are open from 8:30am to 4pm, Monday through Friday.