Suspension of North Dakota jury trials extended through July 1

The Cass County Courthouse in October 2016.
The Cass County Courthouse in Fargo as seen in October 2016. Forum News Servicefile photo

BISMARCK — Jury trials in North Dakota will not resume until at least July, according to a state Supreme Court order.

The amended order signed Wednesday, April 15, dictates all civil and criminal jury trials will be suspended through July 1, according to a news release issued Thursday. The Supreme Court previously set the deadline for jury trials to continue after April 24.

The timeline change comes a day after Gov. Doug Burgum extended restrictions on some businesses to April 30.

District judges also have been given discretion to suspend bench trials through June 1. Multi-person hearings where people must gather in large groups in courtrooms are suspended through July 1, though courts are allowed to use electronic communications, such as teleconferencing, to accommodate civil and criminal hearings.

Another order amended Wednesday allows defendants charged with Class C felonies to enter a plea or be sentenced without being present.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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