The response to COVID-19 has impacted access to courthouses and may change the way cases are handled.
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Update, February 19, 2021: 

The Minnesota Judicial Branch continues to be in a transitional phase, as established by orders from the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea:  
To continue operations consistent with public health guidance and in a manner that prioritizes health and safety, the following will govern activities in court facilities:  
  • Criminal Jury Trials: In-person criminal jury trials in all case types may commence March 15, 2021, as long as the court adheres to the Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and approved local jury trial plans. 
  • Civil Jury Trials: No in-person civil jury trials will commence before April 30, 2021, unless an exception is granted by the Chief Judge after consultation with the Chief Justice. Civil jury trials may proceed remotely if the presiding judge and the parties agree. 
  • Remote Hearings: Hearings across all case types will be conducted remotely. Exceptions may be granted for in-person proceedings under limited circumstances.
  • Jury Trials:  No new jury trials will begin before March 15, 2021, unless the Chief Judge in the district where the trial is to be held grants an exception. Exceptions shall be granted for criminal cases that meet three criteria - speedy trial, in-custody defendant, and felony or non-felony person crime - unless a trial cannot be held safely due to local conditions.
  • Civil Jury Trials: No in-person civil jury trials will be held before March 15, 2021, unless an exception is granted by the Chief Judge after consultation with the Chief Justice. A civil jury trial may take place remotely if all parties and the judge are in agreement.
  • Appellate Courts: Proceedings in appeals pending before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court will continue as scheduled by those courts.
  • Case Filings: All courts will continue to accept case filings.
  • Public Access: At least one public service counter must be open in each county and for the appellate courts during normal business hours, excluding court holidays. Some services may be provided remotely or by appointment only. Contact the county court for more information.
  • Media Access: For updates on county court operations and access to public access terminals (courthouse terminals), contact the Court Information Office.
  • Self-Help Center services are available by appointment, remotely or by telephone.
  • The Minnesota State Law Library is open by appointment only. 
 
Health and Safety Protocols: The Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan addresses exposure control measures and protocols that state courts must follow for in-person activities.
  • Face Coverings: Face coverings are required in all court facilities. Visitors who do not have access to a face covering will be provided one.
  • Social Distancing: Everyone in a court facility is required to maintain 6 feet social distancing.
  • Exposure Notification: Courts will notify individuals who were in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, per guidance and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health.

County-specific District Court Information

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For information about Aitkin County’s local requirements for courthouse entry and other county-specific information, please visit the Aitkin County COVID-19 webpage.


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