Mike Freeman on individuals held in Hennepin County Jail

Monday, March 16, 2020

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman outlined the necessary next steps to let some accused individuals out of Hennepin County pre-charge detention facilities as part of the reaction to the COVID-19 virus.

“I have talked again with Bill Ward, Chief Minnesota Public Defender as well as Chela Guzman, 4th District, Head Adult Public Defender and Lisa McNaughton, 4th District, Head Juvenile Public Defender,” Freeman said.  “Moreover, we are also coordinating with the agencies, including the Hennepin County Sheriff Office, which actually house the accused who have not had their cases adjudicated, to see if there are individuals who could be released pending trial. Our goal is to provide for public safety, for justice and to relieve some of the pressure on jail capacity.

“Our primary responsibility is public safety and providing justice for the victims of crimes in our county. There are individuals who appear to have committed less serious crimes and are not likely to be threat to public safety. By the end of business today, or no later than Tuesday morning, the public defenders will present to us a list of potential individuals who would be eligible for a new bail hearing under those criteria. We will make arrangements for their release pending trial in appropriate cases.”