Citing the increase in COVID-19 infection rates across Minnesota, Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea Friday issued a statewide order limiting in-person activity in courthouses.
The order goes into effect on Nov. 30, and will remain in effect for the next 60 days.
“The health and safety of our staff and judges and those we serve is our top priority,” said Gildea. “This order keeps our courts open and accessible to the people of Minnesota in a manner that prioritizes health and safety.”
In order to continue the operations of the Minnesota Judicial Branch consistent with public health guidance as pandemic conditions evolve, the following will govern court proceedings and services from November 30, 2020, through Jan. 31, 2021:
- 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 Counters: At least one public service counter in each county, and one in the appellate courts, will be accessible between 8 a.m. and 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.
District courts may be contacted directly by phone or email for more information on their local operations.
About the Minnesota Judiciary
The Minnesota Judicial Branch is made up of 10 judicial districts with 295 district court judgeships, 19 Court of Appeals judges, and seven Supreme Court justices. The Judicial Branch is governed by the Judicial Council, which is chaired by Gildea. The Minnesota Judicial Branch is mandated by the Minnesota Constitution to resolve disputes promptly and without delay. In 2019, there were nearly 1.2 million cases filed in district courts in Minnesota. For more information please visit www.mncourts.gov.