Blue Earth and McLeod Counties are among the six Minnesota district courts now allowed to resume having criminal jury trials. On Monday, the Minnesota Judicial Council stated those two counties had demonstrated compliance with state COVID-19 guidelines to provide for the safety of jurors, staff, attorneys, judicial officers, and all other people contw
nected with trials.
Other counties approved for resuming criminal jury trials include Scott, Hennepin, Olmsted, and Ramsey. No other jury trials shall be held in criminal cases before July 6, other than the counties approved to conduct pilots. Additionally, no jury trials shall be held in civil cases before September 1.
Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea stated, “Pilot counties are meeting important milestones already, as juries reached verdicts in both Hennepin and Ramsey counties last week…. We are committed to ensuring courts are doing everything we can to make the criminal jury trial experience safe.”
Under state guidelines, each juror will be provided with a paper mask when he or she arrives at a courthouse each day. If they wish, jurors may supply their own face coverings. Additionally, Minnesota Department of Health social distancing guidelines will be followed in each courthouse, including when and where jurors assemble, participate in proceedings, deliberate, and move throughout the courthouse.
Where necessary, partitions and physical barriers have been set up in each courthouse to ensure that traffic flow and interactions are taking place safely.