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Wright County News

Posted on: June 1, 2020

Supreme Court Orders Public Counters at Court Facilities to Open By June 15

For the last two months, the typically bustling courts area of the Wright County Government Center has been silent as the state has followed the guidance put forth by Executive Orders from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. But, that is about to change.

On May 28, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an order governing public access and services at judicial branch facilities stating that public counters will open on or before Monday, June 15. The Judicial Council has determined that the judicial branch is entering a “transitional phase,” part of a planned, methodical and gradual expansion of operations that includes a limited expansion to public services in court facilities.

The action items of the order read as follows:

“On or before June, 15, 2020, access to services at the court public service counters or a clerk’s office in a court facility, including services provided through public access terminals, will be available in at least one location in each county in the State of Minnesota unless, subject to approval of the chief justice, the chief judge for a district extends that date for the counter in a specific county. These public service counters will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In order to comply with the Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, services available at the counters or public-access terminals may be as scheduled by the court administrator. Access to self-help services will continue to be provided electronically or by telephone until further order of this court. Access to court facilities may be subject to conditions imposed by government entities that own the buildings that house court facilities.

“The district administrator or the Clerk of the Appellate Courts shall follow the guidelines, distancing and disinfecting measures in the Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in providing access to court public service counters.

“The State Law Library will re-open to the public on June 15, 2020. Access to the State Law Library may be by appointment only, and the State Law Librarian, in consultation with the State Court Administrator, can implement additional services, hours and in-person patron limits for the State Law Library to comply with the Minnesota Judicial Branch COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.”

While the Supreme Court order won’t fully re-open court facilities for matters like jury trials in Wright County due to the courts not being conducive to adhering to social distancing guidelines, the opening of public counters is a positive first step as the courts look to start tackling the growing backlog of cases statewide.

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