The Flexible Courtroom Concept (FCC) is limited to certain hearing types in Becker and Ramsey County District Court. Hearings eligible for the FCC will be indicated on the Hearing Notice.
The Flexible Courtroom Concept (FCC) provides judicial officers, parties, and attorneys in Becker and Ramsey counties the opportunity to choose to appear remotely or in-person for their hearing without notifying the court in advance. The FCC will be conducted as a limited rollout in Becker and Ramsey counties with a select set of judicial officers and hearing types and will run through December 2023.
In Becker County, Judge Fritz, Judge Lawson, and Judge Thilmony are participating in FCC hearings. Similarly, Judge Aligada, Judge Carey, Judge Charles, Judge Guthmann, and Judge Harris are participating in FCC hearings in Ramsey County. FCC hearings eliminate the need for attorneys, court staff, and judicial officers to file and review motions managing appearances and whether they will be in-person or remote.
Criminal case hearings and juvenile delinquency case hearings presided over by these judicial officers are included in the FCC. However, the following hearing types* will still be conducted in-person:
- Criminal trials;
- Criminal sentencing hearings on presumptive commits;
- Treatment court;
- Juvenile delinquency trials; and
- Juvenile delinquency and criminal motion hearings where testimony will be offered.
*Ramsey County Criminal will begin the FCC on qualifying pretrial management and sentencing hearings.
For the participating counties, hearing notices indicate if a hearing is part of the Flexible Courtroom Concept. Case participants will receive hearing notices specific to FCC. These notices inform the hearing participant that they may appear as they choose for their hearing and provides both a physical courtroom location and remote hearing information for the hearing.
If a hearing participant is in-custody or in a facility at the time of their hearing, it is up to the facility to determine how the person will appear for their hearing (in-person or remotely). If a participant requires a writ for transport, a writ will need to be obtained.
Defense attorneys are expected to connect with their clients before their hearing so they know how their client intends to appear and can prepare appropriately. If an attorney chooses to appear for a hearing in a manner different than their client, the attorney should be prepared to facilitate any necessary communications with their client on the day of the hearing.
Data from FCC hearings in Becker and Ramsey counties as well as feedback from judicial officers, staff, justice partners, and hearing participants will be used to develop recommended practices for remote and hybrid hearings. The data and feedback will assist with future implementation of FCC in other jurisdictions if the program is continued and/or expanded.
If you have any questions or feedback regarding the Flexible Courtroom Concept, please submit them to the FCC team.
FCC adult criminal hearing notices will be sent in Becker County starting on the week of December 19 with hearings beginning in the week of February 6, 2023.
FCC juvenile delinquency hearing notices will be sent in Becker County starting on January 3, 2023, with hearings beginning in the week of February 6, 2023.
FCC adult criminal hearing notices are expected to be sent in Ramsey County starting on the week of December 19 with hearings beginning the week of February 13, 2023.
FCC juvenile delinquency hearing notices will be sent in Ramsey County starting on March 1, 2023, with hearings beginning April 2023.