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
“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
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.