Minnesota limiting in-person contact at courthouses

Minnesota Judicial Center Photo: McGhiever. Minnesota Judicial Center

Updated: March 20, 2020 03:40 PM
Created: March 20, 2020 03:09 PM

The Minnesota Judicial Council announced Friday it would be making statewide restrictions for in-person courthouse access as efforts ramp up to decrease person-to-person contact during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new restrictions apply to certain types of courtroom procedures, jury trials and grand jury hearings.

Starting Monday, only certain case types will continue in person for 30 days or until another order is issued.

Procedures that will be held in courtrooms for adult cases include:
    •    Bail review;
    •    Hearings under Rule 8 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure;
    •    Omnibus hearings that do not require live testimony;
    •    Plea hearings;
    •    Sentencing hearings;
    •    Probation revocation hearings.

Procedures that will be held in courtrooms for juvenile cases include:
    •    Detention review;
    •    Omnibus hearings that do not require live testimony;
    •    Plea hearings;
    •    Certification hearings;
    •    Extended juvenile jurisdiction hearings;
    •    Disposition hearings;
    •    Probation revocation hearings.

According to the judicial council, the defendants and attorneys have the option to appear remotely in these cases.

Jurors are ordered to follow the instructions on their paper summonses, but no additional jurors will be called for 30 days starting on Monday.

Anyone summoned for jury duty who has tested positive for COVID-19 must contact the court to discuss rescheduling options.

All jury trials underway as of March 13 will continue as scheduled until the trial is complete, and any grand juries that have been empaneled as of Monday and are actively hearing a case will continue to hear the case.

There will be no new jury trials or grand jury proceedings before April 22.

Full details regarding court operations can be found in Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea’s statewide order.

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