Hennepin County Attorney's Office will not appeal Court Order, Government Center courtrooms to be publicly accessible

Wednesday,

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will not be appealing the Order issued by Judge Kerry Meyer late yesterday. The Court addressed concerns our office raised in two motions regarding the Government Center courtroom closures. The concern was access to the courtrooms, which is the defendant’s right to a public trial, guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. Due to the State vs. Chauvin trial, the Government Center was closed to the public.

Our office proposed that these cases should either be continued until the conclusion of the State vs. Chauvin trial, or that the courtrooms should be made available to the public.

Judge Kerry Meyer issued a supplemental order late yesterday, in response to our motion to reconsider the initial decision. We now accept the Court’s position and are satisfied that the public has access to any trials other than the State vs. Chauvin trial.

Any member of the public interested in attending the present trial in front of Judge Chu in courtroom 1456 or any felony jury trials the future should contact District Court for more information.

With the new Order in place, the public will now have access to Government Center courtrooms with the following caveats:

  • COVID-19 safety protocols remain intact (a list of those can be found here).
  • There is a limit of how many people can access these courtrooms. A total of six seats have been designated for the public. Three for the defense, and three for the public.
  • Two designated overflow rooms at the Family Justice Center will be open for public viewing of these court proceedings. These two rooms have the capacity to hold 12 and 20 individuals respectively. These rooms are being made available to the public who cannot get access to the Government Center courtrooms due to limited seating capacities. The public will need to contact District Court for information on these overflow rooms.
    • On-site Government Center security or personnel will direct members of the public interested in viewing these cases to the Family Justice Center.
    • There are also signs posted on the pedestrian gate outside the Government Center which will direct the public to the Family Justice Center.

Media members who want to attend these court proceedings should contact the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office media coordinators, Lacey Severins or Chuck Laszewski.