Pursuant to the mncourts.gov website, Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea has issued a statewide order, ADM20-8001 Continuing Operations of the Courts of the State of Minnesota Under a Statewide Peacetime Declaration of Emergency. The order restricts in-person access to courthouses for only designated case types, and opens up additional opportunities for remote hearings that must occur during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order is in effect starting March 23, 2020, for the next 30 days or until another order is issued. Below is a summary of some effects of this Order as well as previous referenced orders or subsequent responses to that Order.
During this time the courts will remain open on a limited basis for in-person contact, and continue to accept filings in all case types.
This information is not meant to provide any type of legal advice or create any legal representation. If you have a pending eviction or criminal matter, contact your lawyer or the courts for details specific to your case.
Minnesota Evictions – Beginning March 24, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. the Governor has suspended evictions and execution of writs of recovery. What this means is that attorneys/landlords cannot file evictions for failure to pay rent from today through the end of the peacetime emergency or when the Governor otherwise revokes the executive order. Tenants can still however, be evicted on other grounds. Those include matters where there is a showing of individual or public health or safety at risk, which includes eviction actions alleging a violation of laws relating to controlled substances, prostitution, unlawful use, or possession of firearms, and allowing stolen property. Those cases will be heard in the courtroom on an emergency basis. It is important to note that all rent is still due per the lease requirements during this time. Only eviction processes are being delayed.
Criminal Matters – Various adult criminal and juvenile proceedings where the defendant is in custody are still being held. The defendant and the attorneys however, may appear remotely. Those matters include, but are not limited to: (for adult) bail review; arraignments/omnibus hearings, plea hearings, sentencing hearings, probation revocation hearings; (for juvenile) detention review, omnibus hearings, plea hearings, certification hearings, extended juvenile jurisdiction hearings, deposition hearings, and probation revocation hearings.
Various other case types designated “High Priority” or “Super High Priority” are also continuing to be heard. Wherever possible though, ITV/remote technology is being used to conduct these hearings. Those cases include, but are not limited to, criminal court search warrants, arrest warrants, initial appearances and bond reviews and cases where constitutional rights are primarily implicated, public safety concerns are paramount, or personal safety concerns are vital. Types of cases may be for first appearance, probable cause, arraignment, omnibus, or in-custody hearings.
Other “Medium Priority” or “Low Priority” cases are currently suspended and no new jury trials in those case types are being scheduled. Medium and Low priority cases include, but are not limited to, non-custody criminal trials, cases where public and personal safety or economic concerns are implicated but low urgency, and where no statutory and/or rule time lines are immediately applicable or other identified rights are negligible. Hearing types that fall under “Medium” and “Low Priority” level may include evidentiary/suppression hearings, misdemeanors, and forfeitures.
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