Hearing To Consider Court Funding During MN Shutdown

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Three days before a government shutdown the lawyers for the Attorney General’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office and Gov. Mark Dayton fought to keep funding for the judicial branch of government.

A judge will make the final decision.

During a one-hour hearing in the Ramsey County Courthouse, the attorneys made their arguments to retired Judge Bruce Christopherson.

Christopherson also heard from a lawyer representing four state senators, who filed motions to intervene. They argued that funding the court system would be unconstitutional if the governor does not call a special session. They also said funding for the courts is in place, but just needs to be voted on.

The judge ultimately did not allow the senators motions. Christopherson did allow them to state their concerns during the hearing.

The Attorney General’s Office and Public Defender’s Office made their case by stating who would be affected. They said law enforcement would have to work under a catch-and-release process with suspected criminals because there would be no charges within the required 48 hours.

The Public Defender’s Office pointed out that the right to a quick and speedy trial would disappear if funding is not in place.

Christopherson didn’t say when he would issue his ruling.

The four senators involved with the ruling are Roger Chamberlain, Scott Newman, Sean Nienow and Warren Limmer.

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