The following provisions will apply only to civil matters that are part of the ITV pilot program in the Seventh Judicial District:
1. General Provisions
In all civil actions and proceedings, the court may conduct hearings, conferences and pretrial proceedings, hear arguments of counsel, and may admit oral testimony, subject to cross examination, and depositions may be taken, by live audio-visual means, when:
(a) Ordered by the Court sua sponte; or
(b) The parties so stipulate; or
(c) The proponent shows good cause to the Court. The Court shall consider the
9. Whether the witness is presently in prison or incarcerated; and
10. Such other factors as the Court may, in each individual case, determine to be
2. Use of ITV
In all cases, the burden for establishing good cause for the use of ITV shall rest with the proponent.
(a) If the Court sua sponte orders the use of live audio-visual means (ITV) to conduct hearings and proceedings, it shall give notice in accordance with the rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice, which notice shall contain the notification of rights set forth in paragraph 4 of this protocol.
(b) Whenever the Court orders the use of ITV sua sponte to conduct a hearing or proceeding and a party wishes to make an objection, the following procedures shall be used:
1. If the Court orders the use of ITV to conduct a hearing in connection with commitment proceedings, Price-Shepard proceedings, or Jarvis hearings, a party objecting to the use of ITV shall serve and file no less than twenty-four (24) hours prior to the scheduled hearing or proceeding a written objection to the use of ITV (which time limit shall exclude weekends and holidays). The moving party may, ex parte, contact the court for an expedited hearing date and for waiver of the usual notice of hearing. If an objection is served and filed, the Court shall, on an expedited basis, conduct a hearing by telephone conference to determine whether the use of ITV should be allowed. Failure to object in writing within the time limits set forth herein shall constitute a waiver of objection.
2. If the Court orders the use of ITV to conduct a hearing or proceeding in any other civil proceeding other than the types set forth in Rule 3(b)(1), a party objecting to the use of ITV shall serve and file no less than seven (7) days prior to the scheduled hearing or proceeding a written objection to the use of ITV. The moving party may, ex parte, contact the court for an expedited hearing date and for waiver of the usual notice of hearing. If an objection is served and filed, the Court shall, on an expedited basis, conduct a hearing by telephone conference to determine whether the use of ITV should be allowed. Failure to object in writing within the time limits set forth herein shall constitute a waiver of objection.
3. If a party objects to the Court’s use of ITV and good cause for use of ITV is not established, then the Court shall reschedule the hearing or proceeding to such date, time, and location as is necessary to facilitate a traditional court hearing within the time frame specified by the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice.
(c) If the parties stipulate and request the use of ITV for a hearing or proceedings, the parties shall contact the court administrator to obtain a date and time for the ITV hearing or proceeding. The court administrator will ordinarily require at least seven (7) days’ advance notice to schedule the ITV facilities. Unless waived by the parties, a written, signed stipulation for use of ITV will be served and filed no less than five (5) days prior to the date set for the ITV hearing or proceeding. If the hearing or proceeding will be presided over by the Court, the use of ITV shall be subject to Court approval. (A suggested format for a Stipulation and Approval is set forth as an appendix to the protocol.)
(d) In the absence of a stipulation between the parties, any party may, by motion, request the use of ITV or object to the use of ITV. Motions for the use of ITV or objecting to the use of ITV must be served and filed no less than seven (7) days prior to the scheduled hearing or proceeding. The moving party may, ex parte, contact the Court for an expedited hearing date and for waiver of the usual notice of hearing. If an objection is served and filed, the Court shall, on an expedited basis, conduct a hearing by telephone conference to determine whether the use of ITV should be allowed. Failure to object in writing within the time limits set forth herein shall constitute a waiver of objection. Any party objecting to such motion may file and serve a response to the motion at any time prior to the hearing. If the use of ITV is thereafter allowed and ordered by the Court, the hearing shall proceed by ITV in accordance with the procedures established in this protocol. If the Court determines that good cause for the use of ITV has not been established, the hearing or proceeding shall be heard as provided by the Rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice.
(e) In any hearing or proceeding conducted by ITV, whether by Court order or by request of one or more of the parties:
1. If the hearing or proceeding is required to be reported, a court reporter shall be in simultaneous voice communication with all parties to the ITV hearing, but may do so from any ITV terminal site, with the prior consent of the presiding judge.
2. Parties entitled to be heard shall be given prior notice of the manner and time of the hearing or proceeding.
3. Regardless of the physical location of any party to the ITV hearing or proceeding, any waiver, stipulation, motion, objection, decision, order, or any other action taken by the Court or a party has the same effect as if made in open court. Court orders which bear the presiding judge’s signature may be transmitted electronically or via facsimile machine to the various ITV sites for the purpose of service.
4. Hearings and proceedings shall be conducted with the decorum and dignity required by the Rules of Civil Procedure and the General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.
5. The party or parties, other than the Court, requesting use of ITV for any hearing or proceeding shall be responsible for any additional use fee over and above the ongoing collaboration agreement charges.
6. All hearings or proceedings conducted by ITV shall be subject to the hearing procedures required by the Rules of Civil Procedure and General Rules of Practice for the District Courts.
(f) When ITV is ordered or requested in accordance with this protocol, the following procedures shall be used:
1. If the Court sua sponte orders ITV, the Court shall, through the court administrator of the county where the case is venued, establish and make arrangements to carry out the ITV procedures required in order for the Court to hear the case as an ITV hearing or proceeding.
2. In all other cases, it will be the responsibility of the party requesting the use of ITV to contact the court administrator of the county where the case is venued, who shall, working with the judge assigned, establish a hearing date and time so that the case may be scheduled as an ITV hearing or proceeding. The Court and counsel shall use reasonable efforts to confer with one another in scheduling ITV hearings or proceedings so as not to cause or create scheduling conflicts. The moving party shall have the responsibility or preparing, serving, and filing the motion and notice of motion papers as required by this protocol.
4. Notification and Rights of Parties
Whenever ITV is to be used to conduct a hearing or proceeding, the following notice shall be included in those materials served and filed:
* NOTICE *
THE HEARING OR PROCEEDING DESCRIBED ABOVE WILL BE CONDUCTED BY INTERACTIVE VIDEO TELECONFERENCE (ITV). YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO OBJECT TO THE USE OF VIDEO TELECONFERENCING, BUT YOU MUST DO SO WITHIN THE FOLLOWING TIME LIMITS: (A) IF THE HEARING OR PROCEEDING IS IN CONNECTION WITH A COMMITMENT, PRICE-SHEPARD, OR JARVIS HEARING, YOUR OBJECTION MUST BE SERVED AND FILED AT LEAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE OF THAT HEARING (INTERMEDIATE SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS AND LEGAL HOLIDAYS SHALL BE EXCLUDED IN THIS COMPUTATION); (B) IN ANY OTHER HEARING OR PROCEEDING YOUR OBJECTION MUST BE SERVED AND FILED NO LESS THAN SEVEN (7) DAYS PRIOR TO THE HEARING DATE (INTERMEDIATE SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND LEGAL HOLIDAYS SHALL BE EXCLUDED IN THIS COMPUTATION).
IF YOU DO NOT OBJECT WITHIN THE TIME SET FORTH IN THIS NOTICE, YOU WILL WAIVE ANY OBJECTION YOU HAVE FOR THE COURT TO HEAR THE MATTER BY ITV.
ANY DOCUMENTS OR OTHER WRITTEN MATERIAL WHICH YOU KNOW TO BE RELEVANT OR NECESSARY TO THE PROCEEDING MUST BE EXCHANGED WITH ALL PARTIES AND SUBMITTED TO THE COURT, AS APPROPRIATE, PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF THE HEARING.
ANY VIDEOTAPE RECORDINGS MADE OF THE PROCEEDINGS WILL BE USED FOR EVALUATION PURPOSES ONLY.
The order or notice of hearing shall set forth a date and location of the hearing and the sties between which the ITV hearing will be conducted.
Prior to an ITV hearing or proceeding, the Court shall make available to all participants in such hearing a brief statement describing ITV use and courtroom procedure. This information may be provided in writing or by allowing the participants to view a videotape or such other materials prepared by the Court for this purpose. The Court shall also develop a specific and uniform procedure for informing pro se litigants concerning ITV use and procedure.
5. Standard Courtroom Procedures
Except as noted herein, the rules of court decorum specified in the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure and Minnesota General Rules of Practice shall apply. Each ITV site used by the Court shall be arranged and equipped so that the rules of court decorum are satisfied, and the confidentiality of notes of the parties, witnesses, counsel, and the Court are protected.
A sheriff, sheriff’s deputy, bailiff, or other licensed police officer shall be present at each ITV site for the purpose of maintaining order as the Court deems necessary.
All judges, court administrators, and at least one staff member for each county shall be trained in the operation of ITV, and at least one trained operator will be available for all court system use.
The court administrator for each county shall be responsible for the following:
(a) Ensure that the ITV equipment is ready and functioning properly in advance of any ITV hearing so that there will be no interference with the punctual commencement of a hearing.
(b) Provide information to participants using the terminal site in that county concerning the use of ITV and courtroom procedure prior to commencement of the hearing. This may be done in writing to each participant and/or to a group through the use of video.
(c) Set ITV system configuration as designated by the presiding judge. The Seventh District shall develop standard configurations and camera angles for specific types of hearings. The presiding judge shall consider the objections or concerns of any party.
(d) Monitor audio and video quality, making adjustments and providing technical assistance throughout the hearing as necessary.
(e) Ensure that any court documents or exhibits which the judge will require prior to or during the course of the hearing are mailed or faxed to the judge prior to commencement of the hearing.
(f) Be familiar with the problem management procedures described in paragraph 6 of this protocol.
Counsel for the parties shall be present at the site from which the party they represent will participate in the hearing, unless the Court approves another location prior to the hearing.
As appropriate for evaluation purposes, the court administrator shall administer exit surveys to the parties, counsel, and/or other participants.
6. Problem Management Procedures
The Court shall develop and maintain written problem management procedures. At a minimum, the following areas should be addressed:
(a) Steps to be taken in performing initial problem determination.
(b) The individual(s) who should be contacted if initial problem determination/resolution attempts fail.
(c) Information about any maintenance or service agreements which are in place with vendors, and service call placement procedures.
Judges should continue any hearing which cannot proceed due to ITV equipment failure, unless other arrangements to proceed with the hearing are agreed upon by all parties.
7. Privacy Rights of the Parties
Each ITV site shall provide facilities for private attorney-client conferences apart from, but located near, the ITV site.
After the initial evaluation, ITV hearings may be recorded on a random basis for continuing evaluation. No video recording for evaluation shall be a record of the proceedings and each shall be erased after evaluation. All video tapes shall be confidential.
8. Provisions Regarding Commitment Hearings
The procedures set forth in this Protocol shall apply to all commitment proceedings for which hearings will be held using ITV technology.
The respondent’s attorney shall be present at the ITV site from which the respondent will participate in the proceedings. The second examiner and treating hospital witnesses may participate from another ITV site by stipulation of the parties or order of the Court.