Minnesota Judicial Center, St. Paul (Photo: Kevin Featherly)


In-person criminal & civil jury trials, grand juries, settlement conferences allowed


The Minnesota Judicial Branch has issued new statewide guidance that allows in-person proceedings for all major criminal and civil jury trials, grand juries and child-protection cases, among several other types of proceedings.

But not everything will be immediately held in person. Mandatory-appearance misdemeanor trials and contested hearings, for instance, will continue to be held remotely until Aug. 2, the order says.

Its provisions go into effect on June 14 through Sept. 6. In sum, the order signed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea states that, as of June 14:

  • Criminal jury trials will be held in person.
  • Civil jury trials can be held in person.
  • Major criminal, juvenile protection (including CHIPS and permanency cases), and juvenile delinquency trials and contested hearings will be held in person.
  • Criminal settlement conferences will be held in person.
  • Grand jury proceedings will be held in person.
  • Mandatory misdemeanor criminal trials and contested hearings are to be held in person beginning August 2.
    All other district court proceedings will be held remotely unless a judicial district’s chief judge grants permission for an in-person proceeding, based on extenuating circumstances.

  • Appellate courts: Proceedings before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court will continue as scheduled by those courts.
  • 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 through Friday, excluding court holidays. Counter service can be provided remotely, by appointment or in person.
  • Self-help services: These will continue to be conducted by appointment, remotely or by telephone.
    Courthouse terminals: Courthouse public access computer terminals are available to the public and media, based on hours established by the local District Court.

  • Media access: Media may attend in-person court proceedings held in courtrooms and to record those proceedings as permitted by Court Rules. See Section 18 of ADM20-8001 for additional details on media access to in-person and remote proceedings.

    In a May 25 news release, Chief Justice Gildea says:

    “The Minnesota Judicial Branch has relied on public health experts throughout the pandemic. Based on revised guidelines at both the federal and state level, we will continue our gradual return to more in-person proceedings in court facilities in a deliberate and responsible manner that prioritizes health and safety.”

    The Judicial Branch says its order represents the courts’ next step in a “deliberate, gradual return to more in-person court proceedings and modifications to its COVID-19 health and safety protocols.”

    Gildea’s order is written in accordance with the Judicial Branch’s revised COVID-19 Preparedness Plan health and safety protocols, the Branch says.


    Session/Law logo by Kirk Anderson