The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota understands that these are extraordinarily challenging times. But even in such times, the judicial system must continue to function, so that the laws of the United States are enforced, and the people of the United States are protected. Jury service is an indispensable part of that system. In criminal cases, the defendant has a constitutional right to trial by jury. While the Court has postponed conducting jury trials since March, the Court has now determined that jury trials must resume.
The Court is taking every possible precaution and will follow every applicable CDC guideline to protect the health and safety of prospective jurors, witnesses, attorneys, and Court staff. Those precautions include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Prospective jurors will be contacted a day or two before they report and asked screening questions about their health (such as whether they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or whether they have had close contact with an infected person).
- Anyone awaiting security screening in the courthouse lobby will be kept at least six feet apart.
- All individuals who enter the courthouse are required to wear masks upon entry of the courthouse.
- Court-security officers will ensure that courthouse elevators are used by two or less people at a time, so that social distancing can be maintained. Our large public restrooms will also be limited to no more than two people at a time.
- Prospective jurors will be asked to report at staggered times. This will limit the number of people in the courthouse at any given time and will assist in allowing people to properly social distance.
- Juror check-in has been relocated to the courthouse lobby to provide more space for this process.
- We have installed plexiglass in the trial courtroom to shield you from other court participants and jurors. Plexiglass will surround jurors, attorneys, parties, and witnesses.
- Jurors and all trial participants will receive disposable microphone covers, hand sanitizer, and gloves that will allow for the safe communication and exchange of paper through the juror selection process and throughout the trial.
- The courtroom will be cleaned throughout the day and every evening. In addition, high volume touch points, such as elevator buttons and door handles, will be cleaned frequently throughout the day.
- Only a limited number of people will be allowed in the trial courtroom at any one time.
Jurors who are selected to serve on a jury will be provided a large courtroom to use for breaks and deliberations to ensure appropriate social distancing.