The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold or pushed back numerous court trials in Stearns County. Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall joined me on WJON today. She says they held 25 jury trials during the pandemic restrictions but are now playing catch up with the trials that were pushed back. Kendall says they are going back to in-person when possible with their court proceedings while they will continue to use Zoom because of the convenience aspect.  She says doing things virtually saves a lot of time because of transport.

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Kendall says they are currently only doing contested cases in person with uncontested cases being done virtually.  She says they have a plan to keep things moving forward starting with the oldest trials first.  Kendall says a lot of times these cases don't resolve until they are set for trial.  She says domestic violence and person crimes never slowed down during the pandemic.  Kendall says court cases are picking up but not as fast as she would like.  She says there are cases where they filed something in July and don't get a hearing until October. Kendall says they are finding ways to increase efficiencies to push as many trials through as quickly as possible.

There are new laws in Minnesota Stearns County is adjusting to including no-knock search warrants, drone rights, and forfeiture monies.  Kendall says there are just some procedures they must go through going forward with these new adjustments.  She says Minnesota hasn't been doing no-knock search warrants anyway so this doesn't change a policy.  Kendall says air space is public which allows for drone usage.

If you'd like to hear our entire conversation you can listen below.



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