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Federal courts in Minnesota are suspending jury trials until next year

This decision applies to jury trials that have yet to commence.

The U.S. District Court in Minnesota is suspending all jury trials that haven't started until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and surging cases in Minnesota.

In a general order posted Wednesday, the court says all criminal trials that have not already commenced as of Nov. 4 are suspended through Dec. 31 and all civil trials are continued through Dec. 31.

The state's federal court is doing this in an effort "to protect public health, reduce the size of public gatherings, reduce unnecessary travel and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak."

Minnesota is experiencing high COVID-19 infection rates statewide and active COVID-19 cases are at record highs, the order notes. On Thursday, Nov. 5, a record 3,956 new cases were reported and 25 more people had died of the virus.

Federal courts in Minnesota had resumed limited jury trials in September after developing a protocol to help protect the health and safety of those involved, the order notes. But now all jury trials that haven't yet started are delayed until after the new year, unless otherwise approved by the chief judge if special circumstances require. 

Andrew Mannix, the federal courts' reporter for the Star Tribune, tweeted about this order, noting that those in custody awaiting trial could petition for release on home monitoring. 

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