These rules govern the procedure in prosecutions for felonies, gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors in the district courts in the State of Minnesota.
These rules are intended to provide a just determination of criminal proceedings, and ensure a simple and fair procedure that eliminates unjustified expense and delay. The rules must be applied without discrimination based upon race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, public-assistance status, disability, including disability in communication, sexual orientation, or age.
A court may recommend local rules governing its practice if they do not conflict with these rules or with the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts. Local rules become effective only if ordered by the Supreme Court.
As used in these rules, the following terms have the meanings given.
Unless these rules direct otherwise, "misdemeanor" includes state statutes, local ordinances, charter provisions, or rules or regulations punishable - either alone or alternatively - by a fine or imprisonment of not more than 90 days.
A "tab charge" is a charging document filed by an officer at a place of detention, or an amendment of the charges on the record by the prosecutor, that includes a reference to the statute, rule, regulation, ordinance, or other provision of law the defendant is alleged to have violated. A tab charge is not synonymous with "citation" as defined in paragraph (e).
An "aggravated sentence" is a sentence that is an upward durational or dispositional departure from the presumptive sentence provided for in the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines based on aggravating circumstances or a statutory sentencing enhancement.
A "citation" is a charging document issued under Rule 6, filed in paper form or by electronic means.
A "charging document" is a complaint, indictment, citation, or tab charge.
"Violations bureau" refers to court staff who process citations. A violations bureau may consist of one or more employees within a single court location, a dedicated court division, or the Minnesota Court Payment Center implemented and operated by the State Court Administrator.
(Amended effective January 1, 2012.)
(1) ITV. "ITV" refers to interactive video teleconference.
(2) Terminal Site. A "terminal site" is any location where ITV is used for any part of a court proceeding.
(3) Venue County. The "venue county" is the county where pleadings are filed and hearings are held under current court procedures.
(4) District. The "district" is the judicial district in which the venue county is located.
Appearances in proceedings governed by the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure must be made in person except as authorized to be made by ITV in this rule, by written petition in Rules 14.02, subd. 2 and 15.03, subd. 2, and by phone in Rule 26.03, subd. 1(3)5.
ITV may be used to conduct the proceedings specified in subdivisions 4 and 5:
(1) When no judge is available in the venue county;
(2) When the defendant is in custody and is being held in a location other than the venue county; or
(3) In the interests of justice.
(b) Rule 8 hearings;
(c) Rule 11 hearings for the purpose of waiving an omnibus hearing;
(f) Probation revocation hearings;
(2) ITV cannot be used to conduct a trial, contested omnibus hearing, contested pretrial hearing, or any other evidentiary matter except as provided in this rule.
A defendant may appear by ITV for all hearings, including trials, related to petty misdemeanors and regulatory or administrative criminal offenses not punishable by imprisonment.
(1) Rule 5 or Rule 6 Hearings. When a defendant appears before the court by ITV for a Rule 5 or Rule 6 hearing, the defendant may request to appear in person before a judge. If the request is made, the hearing will be held within three business days of the ITV hearing and is deemed a continuance of the ITV hearing.
(2) Other Hearings; Consent. In all proceedings other than a Rule 5 or Rule 6 hearing, prior to the commencement of the hearing, the defendant, defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge must consent to holding the hearing by ITV. Otherwise, an in-person court appearance for that hearing must be scheduled to be held within the time limits as otherwise provided by these rules or other law.
(1) Defendant's Attorney. The defendant and the defendant's attorney must be present at the same terminal site except in unusual or emergency circumstances specifically related to the defendant's case, and then only if all parties agree on the record. This exception for unusual or emergency circumstances does not apply to:
(a) felony or gross misdemeanor plea proceedings when the defendant is entering a guilty plea; or
(b) felony or gross misdemeanor sentencing proceedings.
(2) Prosecutor. Subject to paragraph (4), the prosecutor may appear from any terminal site.
(3) Judge. Subject to paragraph (4), the judge may appear from any terminal site.
(4) Defendant's Attorney or Prosecutor at Same Terminal Site as Judge. When the right to counsel applies, ITV cannot be used in a situation in which only the defense attorney or prosecutor is physically present before the judge unless all parties agree on the record.
(5) Witnesses, Victims, Other Persons. Witnesses, victims, and other persons may be located at any terminal site.
(1) Consolidated Proceeding. When a defendant has pending charges in more than one county, the charges may be heard in a consolidated proceeding conducted by ITV.
(2) Judge. The proceedings shall be heard by a judge in the county in which the most serious offense is pending, unless the parties agree otherwise.
(3) Prosecutor. Each prosecutor having authority to charge the offenses included in the proceeding may attend the hearing in person or by ITV or waive appearance. Any prosecutor authorized to appear on behalf of another prosecutor in the ITV proceeding must make an oral record of the authorization.
(4) Defense Attorney. If the defendant is represented by multiple defense attorneys, each attorney may choose to attend the hearing in person or by ITV or assign responsibility as the attorney of record to one attorney. Any defense attorney appearing in the ITV proceeding must make an oral record of representation.
Witnesses may testify by ITV if the court and all parties agree.
(1) Where Conducted. When an ITV proceeding is conducted, the terminal site(s) for the defendant, defense attorney, prosecutor, and judge must be located in a courtroom. The terminal site(s) for witnesses, victims, or other persons may be located in a courtroom or another suitable room reasonably accessible to the public as approved by the judge conducting the proceeding.
(2) Effect of ITV Hearing. Regardless of the physical location of any party to the ITV hearing, any waiver, stipulation, motion, objection, order, or any other action taken by the court or a party at an ITV hearing has the same effect as if done in person.
(3) Defendant Right to Counsel. The court must ensure that the defendant has adequate opportunity to confidentially communicate with counsel, including, where appropriate, suspension of the audio transmission and recording or allowing counsel to leave the conference table to communicate with the defendant in private.
(4) Record. The court administrator of the venue county must maintain court records as if the proceeding were heard in person. If the hearing requires a written record, a court reporter must be in simultaneous voice communication with all ITV terminal sites, and must make the appropriate verbatim record of the proceeding as if heard in person. No recording of the ITV proceeding other than the recording made as the official court record is permitted.
(5) Decorum. Courtroom decorum during ITV hearings must conform to the extent possible to that required during traditional court proceedings. This may include the presence of one or more sheriff's personnel at any ITV site.
Administrative procedures for conducting ITV hearings are governed by the General Rules of Practice.
(Amended effective July 1, 2010; amended effective August 1, 2012.)
"E-filing" for purposes of this rule means the electronic transmission of the charging document to the court administrator by means authorized by the State Court Administrator.
E-filing must be used to file all citations, tab charges, and complaints.
(1) How Made. All signatures required under these rules must be affixed electronically, unless the e-filing technology is unavailable. If the document must be printed and manually signed, and the printed copy must be filed with the court.
(2) Signature Standard. Electronic signatures may be affixed by any electronic means.
(3) Effect of Electronic Signature. A printed copy of a charging document showing that an electronic signature was properly affixed under paragraph (2) prior to the printout is prima facie evidence of the authenticity of the electronic signature.
If the probable cause statement in an e-filed complaint is made under oath before a notary public, it must be electronically notarized in accordance with state law. The probable cause statement may be signed under penalty of perjury pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 358.116.
E-filed charging documents are in lieu of paper submissions. An e-filed charging document should not be transmitted to the court administrator by any other means. Paper submission is authorized in lieu of e-filing where the electronic means authorized by the State Court Administrator are unavailable to the submitting agency. The refusal to purchase the needed equipment or utilize the electronic means authorized by the State Court Administration does not constitute unavailability.
(Amended effective July 15, 2010; amended effective July 1, 2015; amended effective October 1, 2016.)