Community Chat 7/24/20 – How to Participate in a Remote Trial

Since COVID-19 the courts have responded to the Governor’s Stay at Home order and Chief Justice Gildea’s implementing orders.   The response has varied with and even within judicial districts which have tried to balance the needs for litigants, attorneys and the courts to stay safe, yet have access to justice.

These are challenging times and remote trials are previously unchartered territory.  In this Community Chat you will hear from the Honorable Holly Knight, Referee in Hennepin County and the Honorable Rebecca Rossow, Referee in Ramsey County about how they have planned for and conducted remote trials.

Like all community chats, these are facilitated discussions designed to promote dialogue to address emerging issues in family law during this pandemic.  This chat, however, is going to be designed differently to account for the fact that different jurisdictions have different methods and issues.  In the audience, and ready to participate, if appropriate, will be the Honorable Richelle Wahi, Judge in the First Judicial District and chambered out of Dakota County, the Honorable Sheridan Hawley, Judge of the Tenth Judicial District and chambered out of Washington County and the Honorable Karin McCarthy, Judge of the Tenth Judicial District and chambered out of Anoka County.

This will be an excellent opportunity for attorneys, ADR professionals and mental health professionals to get ideas about how to represent clients or prepare parties for such remote trials.


Referee Holly Knight:  Referee Knight was appointed as a Referee to the Fourth Judicial District Family Court in 2017.  She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Minnesota Law School.  Prior to her appointment she worked at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services practicing family law, worked as a law clerk to Referee Stebbins and the Hennepin County Self-Help Center.

Referee Rebecca Rossow:  Referee Rossow was appointed as a Referee to the Second Judicial District Family Court in 2011.  She graduated from the University of Minnesota and Northeastern University School of Law.  Prior to her appointment she worked at Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.  Referee Rossow was the Chair of the Second Judicial Committee which planned how to return to normalcy for cases involving orders for protection and harassment restraining orders.   She serves on the statewide committee on technology and is and co-authors the Guidelines for Handling Orders for Protection and Harassment Restraining Orders.

Judge Sheridan Hawley:  Judge Hawley is chambered in Washington County after spending 6½ years in Sherburne County. She was appointed in 2012 by Governor Mark Dayton and elected in 2014.  She graduated from North Central University and the University of California, Hastings College of Law.  Prior to her appointment to the Bench, she worked as a County Attorney, a Public Defender, and a parent attorney in CHIPS cases, and she conducted mediation, FENEs and SENEs.  She has served on the statewide Early Case Evaluation Committee, was chair of the 10th Judicial District ENE Committee, and was a board member of Mediation Services for Anoka County. She currently serves as the CJI judge for Washington County and the 10th Judicial District and is on the statewide CJI Advisory Board.

Judge Karin McCarthy:  Judge McCarthy is chambered in Anoka County and was appointed in 2018 by Governor Mark Dayton.  She graduated from the College of St. Catherine’s and the University of Minnesota.  Prior to her appointment on the Bench, Judge McCarthy worked as a staff attorney for Tubman and the Family Violence Network, and the Washington County Attorney’s office.  She is the former Chair of the St. Croix Valley chapter of Minnesota Women Lawyers and an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law.

Judge Richelle Wahi:  Judge Wahi is chambered in Dakota County and was appointed in 2016 by Governor Mark Dayton, she was elected in 2018.  She graduated from the College of St. Catherine and William Mitchell School of Law.  She practiced in the areas of family and general civil litigation prior to being appointed Judge.  She participates on the Statewide Early Case Management Committee, the First Judicial District Early Neutral and Moderated Settlement Committee, and is the Chair of the Dakota County Family Court Work Group, Early Case Management Committee and Moderated Settlement Program Committee as well as the Dakota County Domestic Violence Coordinated Community Response Team.  She is faculty for the trial skills training for New Judges and participates in several statewide and district level Equal Justice Committees.

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