The district court system has recently been 20-30 percent busier trying to catch up on the backlog of cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Blue Earth County Attorney Pat McDermott says while the ability to hold hearings virtually is convenient, it doesn’t necessarily speed up the process.

“I think the vast majority of people in the criminal justice system would agree that virtual hearings take longer than in-person hearings,” said McDermott. “There are different things that get compounded and it just takes awhile.”

McDermott says hearings will be done mostly virtually until at least February first. He says attorneys can request an in-person hearing from the chief judge of the district. McDermott says to his knowledge that has happened twice in Blue Earth county.