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Judicial Priorities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Mar 19, 2020Criminal Defense Attorney, Kevin Sieben, Minnesota Attorney, News Stories

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

The legal maxim – Justice Delayed is Justice Denied – is a tenant of our criminal justice system. The COVID-19 pandemic is putting stress on this tenant. Here in Minnesota, Supreme Court Chief Justice Gildea recently issued an Order prioritizing cases and postponing those with lower “priority.” The high priority matters occur when the accused is in jail. These cases simply cannot be shelved. The Courts are doing their best to implement procedures that allow for social distancing in these circumstances, but the courthouses must remain open during this challenging time. For those with a lower priority case, your justice may be delayed for a time.

What Priority Level is my Case?

If you are reading this blog, it is likely that you are not in custody. This means that your case may be a Medium or Low priority matter. Below is a brief summary of the priority levels. For a full list of the priority levels, follow this link. If this doesn’t help, please feel free to reach out to the attorneys at Sieben Edmunds Miller for specifics regarding your case.

  • High Priority Cases
    • All in-custody matters
    • All speedy trial demands
    • All requests to the Signing Judge
  • Medium or Low Priority Cases
    • Most out of custody calendars
    • Most out of custody trials without speedy demands (whether Misdemeanor, Gross Misdemeanor, or Felonies)
    • Most Civil Matters

How are Cases Being Handled Now?

  • The courts remain open. The Judicial Branch discourages the public from making any non-essential visits though.
  • Jury trials in progress will continue.
  • “High Priority” or “Super High Priority” continue as normal, but the courts will use ITV/remote technology if possible.
  • For “Medium Priority” or “Low Priority” cases, all court proceedings will be suspended for at least 14 days. No new jury trials will be scheduled for the next 30 days.

I Have a Loved One with a New “High Priority” Case. What Should I do?

The lawyers at Sieben Edmunds Miller are still here to help. While some of the processes will change and evolve, we can still help. Whether your loved one is charged with a domestic assault, a drug crime, a sex offense, or any other crime, please feel free to reach out to us. Sieben Edmunds Miller has video conferencing capabilities to minimize direct contact and reduce risk. Needless to say, we will do what needs to be done to ensure that justice is not denied to you or to those you love. To schedule an appointment please follow this link.

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