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Bar Buzz: Pilot trials allowed in two more counties

Two additional counties have been allowed to hold criminal trials before juries.

District Courts in Scott and Blue Earth counties have been granted pilot jury-trial status by the Minnesota Judicial Council, the Judicial Branch announced in a June 15 press release.

That raises to six the total number of pilot trial counties that many conduct such trials during the ongoing COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The others are Hennepin, McLeod, Olmsted and Ramsey counties.

The counties were granted permission after satisfying the Judicial Branch’s COVID-19 preparedness standards and locally approved jury trial pilot checklists.

The Judicial Branch announced its first round of approved pilot jury trials on June 3.

“Pilot counties are meeting important milestones already, as juries reached verdicts in both Hennepin and Ramsey counties last week,” state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said in the June 15 press release.

The approved District Courts were first allowed to apply for permission to hold pilot trials on May 15.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, no other criminal jury trial may be held before July 6. No civil-case jury trials may be held before Sept. 1.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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