The judges “met” yesterday and we want to give you the short-term plan for out of custody hearings set before May 4.
You should expect to be contacted by the judge. Some will simply ask whether you need a continuance (first OMs) and others will ask to set a conference call with the attorneys to discuss the case.
If you can get the defendant involved for a remote hearing, the judge will set up a Zoom conference for the case. That is our form of remote hearings in Hennepin. We will have a court reporter in the Zoom conference to make the record and an interpreter if needed.
If you reach an agreement on a case, but cannot get everyone together for a hearing, you can start the PSI process. A Tier 3 will be completed as long as the defendant does not deny culpability during the (phone) interview with probation. We will then set just one hearing for plea and sentencing for that case.
We will still have in custody hearings as we have been doing.
We are still working on plans for May 4 and beyond. We are firm that in custody speedy demand trials will have priority for jurors. We are summoning more jurors than normal, knowing that many will defer. You should expect we will have jurors, though, and we will do our best to create as much physical space between people as possible in the courtroom.
Please, start negotiating your cases like you have to try them. This physical space issue is not going to resolve itself in a few weeks and the number of pending felony cases has gone up while we were shutdown.