State Courts Limit In-Person Activity in Court Facilities Due to COVID-19 Spike.

The response to COVID-19 has impacted access to courthouses and may change the way cases are handled.
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State Courts Limit In-Person Activities in Court Facilities for 60 Days

Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020

State Courts Limit In-Person Activities in Court Facilities for 60 Days

Citing the increase in COVID-19 infection rates across Minnesota, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea today issued a statewide order limiting in-person activity in courthouses. The order goes is into effect November 30, 2020 and will remain in effect through January 31, 2021.
 
“The health and safety of our staff and judges and those we serve is our top priority,” said Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea. “This order keeps our courts open and accessible to the people of Minnesota in a manner that prioritizes health and safety.”
 
Below is a summary of the order; for full details, see the order.
 
  • Remote Hearings: Hearings across all case types, including treatment courts, will be conducted remotely until February 1, 2021. Exceptions may be granted for in-person proceedings under limited circumstances.
  • Jury Trials: Jury trials in progress will continue until complete. No new jury trials will commence before February 1, 2021. Exceptions may be granted for jury trials under limited circumstances.
  • Grand Juries: Grand juries that were empaneled and taking evidence on a case will continue until complete. No grand juries will be empaneled nor will grand jury proceedings commence before February 1, 2021. Exceptions may be granted under limited circumstances.
  • Appellate Courts: Proceedings in appeals pending before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court will continue as scheduled by those courts.
  • Civil Commitment: Proceedings that are before the Commitment Appeal Panel shall continue as scheduled by the panel. The Panel is instructed to use remote technology for proceedings or hearings to the extent possible.
  • Case Filings: Courts will continue to accept filings in all case types.
  • Public Service Counter: At least one public service counter in each county and one in the Appellate Courts will be accessible between 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday excluding court holidays. Counter service can be provided remotely, by appointment or in person. Changes to service availability will be at the discretion of the Judicial District Administrator or the Clerk of Appellate Courts, in consultation with the State Court Administrator.
  • Self-Help Services: Self-Help Services will continue to be conducted by appointment, remotely or by telephone.
Media
Media are allowed to attend in-person proceedings held in courtrooms and to record those proceedings as permitted by court rules. Media must contact the State Court Information Office or the Hennepin County District Court Communications Specialist and provide 24-hours advance notice of a request to attend a hearing. No recording or broadcasting of any proceedings, whether held in person or remotely, is authorized other than as provided by court rules. Other than attending in-person proceedings, media will not have access to judicial branch facilities and services, including public access terminals (courthouse terminals). Media should contact the Court Information Office to request documents.