Over the past year, the Minnesota Judicial Branch has been rolling out the Minnesota Digital Exhibit System—or “MNDES” (pronounced “minn-deez”). MNDES is an easy-to-use, online platform for submitting, sharing, viewing, and downloading exhibits statewide. Through MNDES, exhibits are accessible for both remote and in-person hearings, and they are also available to the Court of Appeals. The system accepts audio, video, document, and image files (up to 100GB each). And documents are not visible to the public unless otherwise made a part of the record.

The Judicial Branch recently announced that MNDES is now live statewide, meaning that it will now be an important part of every practitioner’s practice in Minnesota state courts. In addition, use of MNDES for jury deliberation will be piloted with 19 judicial officers and staff from across the state.

The statewide version, 2.0, contains several enhancements to the piloted version 1.0:

  • Streamlined storage of exhibits to allow better access:
    • Exhibits in confidential cases are accessible to the exhibit submitter.
    • The MNDES Share feature can be used to share exhibits in confidential cases.
  • Enhanced exhibit uploading functionality including:
    • Ability to indicate if an exhibit is on behalf of the plaintiff/petitioner or defendant/respondent.
    • Ability to update the Exhibit Type and Party Affiliation for multiple exhibits in one step.
    • Public/non-public field removed. Prehearing exhibits stored in MNDES are not publicly accessible.
    • Special instructions not needed and removed.
  • Ability to customize, sort, and filter columns within the submissions list.
  • Share feature permits exhibits from only one case to be included in a single Share so that the notification e-mail to recipient includes the case number.
  • All jury deliberation requirements are met.

Practitioners should familiarize themselves with this system and keep in mind the following five best practices when submitting digital exhibits:

  • Update the Exhibit Name so that it briefly describes the content and is easily identifiable (for example, “picture of rear passenger door”).
  • Only include an Exhibit Number if the judicial officer instructs you to do so. Check to see whether your judicial officer issued something called a “scheduling order” and, if so, follow any numbering instructions that were included.
  • Do not zip or compress an exhibit file. It should be uploaded in the original format, such as a pdf, jpg, etc.
  • Upload exhibits individually so they are listed separately in MNDES. Do not combine multiple exhibits into a single file.
  • Ensure the exhibit is properly redacted before uploading.

This Practice Tip, and others like it, can be found on the MSBA website.

November 17, 2023