Remote Hearing Information

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is conducting some court hearings remotely.  No recording or broadcasting of any remote proceeding is authorized other than as provided by court rules.  This site includes information for attorneys, parties, and others who are required to appear at remote hearings as well as access for the public.
Información de Zoom

The Minnesota Judicial Branch uses strict security controls for all technology when conducting remote hearings.


Case participants (i.e., parties, attorneys, witnesses) will get information about how to join the hearing directly from the court. If you haven't received this information, please contact the local court. Participant login information should not be shared with anyone other than the participants appearing in the court hearing, unless the court approves otherwise.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch order of April 19, 2022 and the oneCourtMN Hearings Initiative policy, revised and effective January 3, 2023, provide the framework for how remote and in-person hearings will take place. All hearings scheduled and hearing notices issued will follow the policy. Case participants will find the most accurate information about how their court hearings will take place on their hearing notices.  Review the Criminal Hearing Plans and Non-Criminal Hearing Plans for more information.

If you have an order or other instructions from the court about how to send exhibits, you must follow those instructions.

If your case is in a county in the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, or Tenth Judicial District, submit your exhibits electronically using the Minnesota Digital Exhibit System (MNDES). For more information about MNDES and to register for a MNDES account, go to Minnesota Judicial Branch - MNDES.

If you don't have an order or other instructions from the court and your county is not using MNDES, you can give the court your exhibits by:
  • Mailing, faxing, or emailing them to the court (check with court administration for the correct contact information)
  • Placing them in a physical drop box at the courthouse, or
  • Bringing them in person to the court's public counter
Exhibits are documents (such as pay stubs and photographs) and other items you want the court to see for your case. Your exhibits should be given to the court at least 5 business days before your hearing if possible.

You must also send the exhibits to other parties involved in your case, unless there is a court order that directs you to not contact another party such as an Order for Protection (OFP), Harassment Restraining Order (HRO), or Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (DANCO). If this applies to you, contact the court for assistance. See the Exhibit Process Overview for more information.
 

Forms for Criminal Proceedings

You can give the court your forms by:
  • Mailing, faxing, or emailing them to the court (check with court administration for the correct contact information);
  • Placing them in a physical drop box at the courthouse; or
  • Bringing them in person to the court's public counter.
You can apply for a public defender (PD) to represent you if:
  • You are charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony level criminal or traffic offense; and
  • You cannot afford to hire an attorney.
Before your scheduled hearing day, completely fill out the PD application and file it with the court. You can fill out the PD application by:
  The court will send you an order to let you know if a public defender will represent you at your hearing.
If you are charged with a criminal or traffic offense:
  • Read the Statement of Rights form that corresponds to the charges in your case (if you are not sure which form to read, contact the court listed on your hearing notice);
  • Provide the requested contact information; and
  • Return the completed form to the court before your scheduled hearing date.
Forms
The Court collects race and ethnicity information on all people who appear in criminal, traffic, and juvenile delinquency cases to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equally. Providing this information does not affect your case.

The Race Data Collection Form is optional.  However, once you return this completed form, the Court will stop asking you for this information.

Joining remote court hearings

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is using multiple methods to conduct remote court hearings, including telephone conference calls and Zoom. For security and enforcement of court standards, the court may disable some features, such as chat, screen share, and reaction emoticons.

If your hearing is held by Zoom, there is more information below about how to prepare to use the tool. For information on how to join your remote hearing using Interactive Televsion (ITV), please contact the local court for help.

If you do not have a stable internet connection, a computer, smartphone, or tablet to connect to your remote hearing, many courts have some computers or tablets available to use. Contact the local court if you need to use one of these computers or tablets to join your remote hearing. 
 
You may join a court hearing held using Zoom from either the Zoom Mobile App or an internet browser. The hearing link is encrypted, so if you received an electronic hearing notice, please join the hearing by clicking the link rather than copying and pasting the link into the app or the browser’s address bar.

Zoom has resources that may also be helpful as you prepare. To prepare to join a court hearing, you may want to watch these two videos, Joining a Zoom Meeting and Zoom Audio and Video Basics.
 

To join your hearing using the Zoom Mobile App

Install the Zoom app from your device’s app store. If you have a Zoom account, you can use it to join the remote hearing. Having an account is not required to appear at the court hearing. Make sure you keep the app up to date.
  1. Open the app and click the link in the emailed hearing information provided by the court.
  2. If that does not work, or if you received a paper hearing notice, click Join a Meeting.
  3. Then enter the Meeting ID provided by the court.
  4. Enter your first and last name. If representing a party, include your role, for example, Joan Smith, attorney for defendant.
  5. Click Join and the hearing will launch.
  6. If prompted, enter the Meeting Password, which is available in the hearing information from the court.
  7. Click Join Meeting and your hearing will begin.

To join your hearing using an internet browser

You can test your internet connection, including the ability to connect to Zoom video and audio, before your hearing at https://courts-state-mn-us.zoomgov.com/test
 
  1. From an emailed hearing notice, click the hearing link provided by the court and Zoom will launch automatically.
  2. If that does not work, or if you received a paper hearing notice from the court, type https://zoomgov.com/join in your browser’s address bar.
  3. Enter the Meeting ID provided by the court.
  4. If prompted, enter the Meeting Password.
  5. Once in the hearing, you can update your name by clicking the Participants icon on the bottom of your screen. On the right panel, hover over your name, click More and then select Rename to update your name. If you are representing a party, include your role, for example, Joan Smith, attorney for defendant.
  6. Click the Join Audio icon in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.
  7. Click the Share Video icon.

*new* Preparing for your Remote Hearing - Video explanation of court guidelines for attending remote hearings.

*new* Preparing for your Remote Hearing - Written explanation of court guidelines for attending remote hearings.


Follow these best practices to ensure a smooth experience for everyone.

 
  • Find a quiet, well-lit place for clear and distraction-free audio and video.
    • Turn off TVs, radios, and phone notifications.
    • If there are others around you, try moving to a room with a door you can close.
    • Do NOT join from a moving vehicle.
  • Do NOT record or broadcast the hearing in any way.
  • If possible, make sure your device is plugged into a power source and not running only off battery power.
  • If joining by video, find your device’s video camera and make sure it is uncovered. Position the camera at eye level so others can see you clearly.
  • Dress in solid colors, and be mindful of what is behind you. Check the lighting to make sure you can be seen by others.
  • Turn off your video if you're waiting for your hearing to start.
  • Use headphones, if possible, for the best sound quality and the fewest background noises.
  • Mute yourself when not speaking.
  • Speak one at a time and pause before speaking in case there is audio or video lag.
  • Enter your first and last name when you join. If you are an attorney, identify which party you represent. For example, Joan Lawyer, Attorney for the Petitioner.

Remote Hearing Best Practices Posters 

Feel free to print, post, and share these resources with others.

 
Legal Kiosk Project - The Minnesota Legal Services Coalition has legal kiosks in community locations throughout the state where the public can attend remote court hearings in a private space. Anyone can use the computer at one of these legal kiosks free of charge.  

To find a legal kiosk available for remote court hearings, choose the option for “locations that have privacy.” These kiosks will also have printers and scanners for your use. Details about the private kiosks and contact information to reserve the computer are available on the Locations page.

Zoom Support - Troubleshooting resources for Zoom including articles, videos, and more.



 

Public Access to Remote Hearings

Members of the public who want to view or listen to remote district court proceedings should contact the court to request to attend the scheduled public hearing or proceeding. Decisions about access to district court proceedings will be made by the presiding judge on a case by case basis, and as technology allows. No recording or broadcasting of any remote proceeding is authorized other than as provided by court rules.

To view remote Court of Appeals oral arguments, visit the Court of Appeals Calendar webpage.
 
For high-interest in-person proceedings, courts may provide video and/or audio access to the proceeding in a specific location for court observers that would allow for appropriate social distancing measures to be taken, and ensuring compliance with existing orders concerning public gatherings.
 

Media Access to Remote Hearings

Media who wish to cover a hearing must work with the State Court Information Office (CIO) or the Hennepin County District Court Communications Specialist.

Media must:
  • Request to attend a hearing 24 hours in advance
  • Submit a notice of coverage seven days in advance to record any portion of a district court hearing by visual or audio means
  • Notify the CIO 24 hours in advance of intent to record any portion of an appellate court hearing by visual or audio means