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Criminal Assignment Calendar Plan

Criminal Calendar Plan

2nd Judicial District – St Paul

The 2nd Judicial District, Criminal Division, St. Paul has a Hybrid Individual Calendar System. The criminal “team” judges have a regular schedule of meetings to discuss calendar and stakeholder issues as they arise and develop implementation plans as changes and modifications to the calendar system occur. The criminal “team” is lead by a “presiding judge”. Overall calendar and case management, as well as day to day operations of the criminal calendars are the responsibility of the supervisory staff of the Criminal Assignment Office.

14 judges are on the criminal assignment. 7 judges are assigned to the felony rotation and 7 judges to the misdemeanor/GM rotation. Rotations between the two assignments usually occur every 6-8 months

Upon entry of a not guilty plea in felony and misdemeanor cases, and after the 1st appearance in gross misdemeanor cases, criminal cases are assigned to a judge for all further proceedings. Judge assignments for criminal cases are not made randomly, as they are in other courts. Rather, all cases entering a not guilty plea in a particular week are assigned the same judge. This applies to both misdemeanors and felonies. This calendar plan was created in partnership with the Public Defenders and Prosecutors in an attempt to maximize attorney availability for court events.

The felony calendar system operates on an 8 week rotation, meaning that there is an 8 week period of time to hear individually assigned cases beginning with the first pre trial session through the 4 week trial block. The misdemeanor calendar system operates on a 6 week rotation, meaning there is a 6 week period of time to hear individually assigned cases beginning with the first pre trial session through the 3 week trial block.

Each judge begins each rotation with the same number of pre trial sessions. The number of sessions may be adjusted based on the number of cases assigned and the calendar size limits set by the judges.

All criminal judges do all types of Master Calendars, i.e.; judges on the felony rotation  handle misdemeanor arraignments and judges on the misdemeanor rotation handle felony arraignments. Individual case assignment is to a specific judge, on a specific rotation. All judges on the criminal calendar also handle Petty Court Trials, Implied Consent Hearings, Chambers duty and Suburban Arraignments, Suburban Pre-Trials and Suburban Court Trials. Only judges on the misdemeanor rotation handle the Suburban Jury calendars.

Any criminal judge may be the presiding judge at Arraignment or 1st Appearance in felony cases. Any criminal judge may be the presiding judge at Arraignment in misdemeanor cases, or at the 1st Appearance in gross misdemeanor cases. Individual judge assignment is made upon entry of a not guilty plea in felony and misdemeanor cases, and after the 1st Appearance in gross misdemeanor cases. Once a judge is assigned, absent a Notice to Remove or Recusal, the case remains with the assigned judge through disposition, or, until the assigned judge rotates to another assignment.

Individual caseloads, pending at the time of a rotation change, will be inherited by the judge moving into the rotation i.e.; judges moving to the felony assignment will absorb felonies pending from the judge being replaced. Judges rotating to the misdemeanor assignment will inherit the pending caseload of the judge being replaced.

Judge Unavailability:

Judges may schedule and take leave at any point in the system rotation. Their individual rotation will not be extended and the number of cases assigned will not be reduced to accommodate the leave. Cases still pending at the end of the rotation when leave is taken will be continued to the judges’ future rotation.

Scheduling Clerks:

Each judge on the criminal assignment has a designated scheduling clerk who is a permanent staff member of the Criminal Assignment Office. The scheduling clerk deals only with pre trial and trial events. Each scheduling clerk has multiple judges for whom they schedule. The role of the scheduling clerk may vary by chambers, but ideally, this is a primary contact for the law clerk. Scheduling clerks typically do not attend court sessions. The scheduling clerks primary responsibilities including collecting dispositions, updating cases, communicating with the jury office, generating and distributing calendars, providing court dates for upcoming events, equalizing caseloads and case settings, notifying parties of hearing dates and preparing statistical summaries of caseloads.

Statistical Reports:

At the beginning of each new rotation, each criminal judge is provided with a summary of his or her individually assigned cases. This report includes total number of cases set for each pre trial session in the current rotation. At the conclusion of the trial block, each criminal judge is provided with an updated summary of his or her caseload. This report includes total number of dispositions, average age of case at disposition, event at which cases were disposed, number of dispositive hearings, number of cases tried either by court or jury and number of cases continued to future rotation.

Homicide Cases:

All judges on the criminal or civil assignments may be assigned homicide cases. Judge assignments are made upon entry of a not guilty plea, once a prosecutor and public defender, if requested, are assigned the case. Parties will be notified of judge assignment and scheduling conference date by mail. In the interest of judicial economy, homicide cases with multiple defendants are typically assigned to one judge. The cases may not be joined for trial, but frequently the pre trial issues are the same.

TBA Judge:

A feature of this calendar plan is the TBA Judge. A judge may be assigned TBA duty for a day or half day, depending on judge availability. This means that the TBA Judge is available to pick up any master calendar assignment if needed, due to short notice judge unavailability. The TBA judge should not schedule any cases on this assignment, they must be available for whatever calendar, in whatever location, requires coverage.

Master Calendars:

Custody Misdemeanor/GM Arraignment/1st Appearance – Daily at LEC. 9am – St Paul cases. 1:30pm – Suburban cases and Probation Violations. (All criminal judges)

Non-Custody Misdemeanor/GM Arraignment/1st Appearance– Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 1:30 pm – Room 131-A. (All criminal judges)
Felony 1st/ Appearance – Daily at LEC – 1:30.Combined with OH calendar. (All criminal judges)

Felony Omnibus Hearings – Daily at LEC – 1:30. Combined with Felony 1st App calendar. (All criminal judges).

Suburban Arraignments – non-custody – Daily, every morning at Suburban Court Facility. Scheduled by Municipality. (All criminal judges)

Implied Consent Hearings – One -  ½ day session per week – Monday (All criminal judges)

Petty Court Trials – 3 afternoon sessions per week – (all criminal judges and referees)

                                 1 morning session per month (all criminal judges)

Chambers Assignment – Daily, morning and afternoon – (all criminal judges)

Suburban Pre-Trials and Court-Trials – Daily – each afternoon in suburban court facility. Scheduled by Municipality (all criminal judges)

Community Court – Monday and Wednesday 1:30 – 131-B (all criminal judges)

Mental Health Court – Monday – 1:30 – 131-B. Precedes Community Court. (Judges Flynn and Johnson)

DWI Court -  Thursday- Staffing AM, Calendar 1:30 (Judge Stephenson)

Substance Abuse Court – Thursday – Staffing AM, Calendar 1:30 Room 1540 (Judge Smith)

 

Criminal Caseflow

Felonies:

1st Appearance – always at LEC. Appointment of Public Defender. Bail hearing/setting. If no plea is entered, continue for Omnibus Hearing 14 days later. If guilty plea is entered at 1st Appearance, continue for sentencing.

Omnibus Hearing – always at LEC. Determination of probable cause and arraignment of defendant. If not guilty plea is entered, judge assignment is made, pre-trial date is scheduled. First trial date is given. Prosecutor will be assigned upon entry of not guilty plea. If guilty plea is entered at Omnibus Hearing, continue to sentencing date.

Pre-Trial – always in CH. Each judge has six half day pre trial sessions, over a two week period, per rotation. Pre-trial is held three or four weeks following Omnibus Hearing. Assigned attorneys should be present at this event. Settlement negotiations should be ongoing. If contested evidentiary hearing is requested, hearing should be scheduled during Motions time. If not guilty plea continues, case may be continued for resolution of any pending pre trial issues to a date during Motions time, or, case may be set directly on trial calendar. Trial date should be set at this event.

Motions – always in CH. Each judge has three half day Motions sessions in one week, per rotation. Motions week immediately follows the two weeks of pre trial time. Motions time may be used for whatever type of hearing judge wishes. There is one week between Motions week and start of Trial block, if cases are taken under advisement prior to trial. Motions week may not be used as a trial week. Recommended uses for Motions time are contested hearings or resolution of any trial readiness issues. Trial date should be given at this event.

Trial – always in CH. Each judge has a four week trial block. In an effort to minimize the amount of time  witnesses are under subpoena, weeks one and two may be dedicated to Public Defender cases, weeks three and four to private attorneys and the Neighborhood Justice Center. Cases not resolved at the conclusion of the trial block should be continued to future rotation.   

Gross Misdemeanors:

 

1st Appearance – either at LEC or 131-A. Appointment of counsel. Bail hearing/setting. If guilty plea is entered at 1st Appearance, continue for sentencing. If no plea is entered, continue for Omnibus Hearing. Prosecutor will be assigned if OH is set.

Omnibus Hearing – always in CH. Combined OH/pre trial hearing. OH will be three or four weeks following 1st Appearance. Each judge will have six half day Pre-Trial and Omnibus Hearing sessions over a two week period, per rotation. Assigned attorneys should be present at this event. Determination of probable cause and arraignment of defendant occur at this event. Settlement discussions should be ongoing. If guilty plea is entered, continue for sentencing. If not guilty plea is entered; case may be set for hearing during Motions week or set directly for trial. Trial date should be given at this event.

Motions – always in the CH. Each judge has three half day Motions sessions in the week immediately preceding the three week trial block. Motions time may be used for whatever type of hearings judge wishes to set. Motions time may not be used as trial time. Recommended uses are contested evidentiary hearings, or resolution of any trial readiness issues. Trial date must be given at this event.

Trial – always in CH. Each judge on the Misdemeanor rotation has a three week trial block. Week one is dedicated to St Paul cases. Week two is the Suburban trial week – judge goes to suburban court on Monday, settles what can be settled, sets the remaining cases for trial in St Paul in week two or week three. St Paul City Attorneys are not available for trial in week two. Week three is for all cases remaining from weeks one and two. Cases still pending at end of week three should be continued to future rotation.

Misdemeanors:

 

Arraignment - always at LEC or 131-A.  Appointment of counsel and arraignment of defendant. If guilty plea is entered, continue for sentencing or impose sentence. If not guilty plea is entered, set for pre-trial. First trial date is given.  Prosecutor will be assigned upon entry of NG plea.

Pre-Trial  - always in CH. Pre Trials are set three or four weeks after arraignment. Each judge has six half day combined Pre Trial / Omnibus Hearing sessions, over a two week period each rotation. Two of the six sessions are dedicated to Domestic Assault cases only. Assigned attorneys should be present at this event and settlement discussions should be ongoing. If case is not resolved, may be scheduled for Motions hearing or directly for trial. Trial date should be given at this event.

Motions – always in CH/ Each judge has three half day motions sessions in the week immediately prior to trial block. Motions time may be used for whatever type of hearing judge wishes to set. Motions time may not be used as trial time.  Recommended use of motions time is contested hearings and resolution of any pending trial readiness issues.  Trial date should be given at this event.

 

Trial – always in CH. Same three week trial block as Gross Misdemeanors.  Week one is St. Paul cases only, week two is suburban trial calendar, St. Paul City Attorneys are not available in week two, and week three is for all cases remaining from weeks one and two. Cases still pending at end of rotation should be continued to future rotation.

10-Day Demand – always in CH. Applies only to Misdemeanor cases. Always scheduled for 10-Day Demand on the Wednesday, following the demand. If defendant bails out prior to 10 DD date, Judge assignment and PT date that would have been set absent the 10 DD is given.