Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01

As amended through February 28, 2020
Rule 26.01 - Trial by Jury or by the Court

Subd. 1. Trial by Jury

(1) Right to Jury Trial.
(a) Offenses Punishable by Incarceration. A defendant has a right to a jury trial for any offense punishable by incarceration. All trials must be in the district court.
(b) Misdemeanors Not Punishable by Incarceration. In any prosecution for the violation of a misdemeanor not punishable by incarceration, trial must be to the court.
(2) Waiver of Trial by Jury.
(a) Waiver on the Issue of Guilt. The defendant, with the approval of the court, may waive a jury trial on the issue of guilt provided the defendant does so personally, in writing or on the record in open court, after being advised by the court of the right to trial by jury, and after having had an opportunity to consult with counsel.
(b) Waiver on the Issue of an Aggravated Sentence. Where the prosecutor seeks an aggravated sentence, the defendant, with the approval of the court, may waive a jury trial on the facts in support of an aggravated sentence provided the defendant does so personally, in writing or on the record in open court, after being advised by the court of the right to a trial by jury, and after having had an opportunity to consult with counsel.
(c) Waiver Necessitated by Prejudicial Publicity. The defendant must be permitted to waive a jury trial whenever the court determines:
(i) the defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived that right; and
(ii) reason exists to believe that, because of the dissemination of potentially prejudicial material, the waiver must be granted to assure a fair trial.
(3) Withdrawal of Jury-Trial Waiver. The defendant may withdraw the waiver of a jury trial any time before trial begins.
(4) Waiver of Number of Jurors Required by Law. Any time before verdict, the parties, with the approval of the court, may stipulate that the jury consist of a number of jurors fewer than that provided by law. The court must not approve this stipulation unless the defendant, personally in writing or on the record in open court, agrees to trial by a reduced jury after being advised by the court of the right to trial by a jury consisting of the number of jurors provided by law.
(5) Number Required for Verdict. The jury's verdict must be unanimous in all cases.
(6) Waiver of Unanimous Verdict. Any time before verdict, the parties, with the approval of the court, may stipulate that the jury may render a verdict on the concurrence of a specified number of jurors fewer than that required by law or these rules. The court must not approve this stipulation unless the defendant waives this right personally in writing or on the record, after being advised by the court of the right to a verdict on the concurrence of the number of jurors specified by law.

Subd. 2. Trial Without a Jury.

(a) In a case tried without a jury, the court, within 7 days after the completion of the trial, must make a general finding of guilty; not guilty; or if the applicable pleas have been made, a general finding of not guilty by reason of mental illness or Cognitive Impairment, double jeopardy, or that Minn. Stat. § 609.035 bars the prosecution.
(b) The court, within 7 days after making its general finding in felony and gross misdemeanor cases, must in addition make findings in writing of the essential facts.
(c) In misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor cases, findings must be made within 7 days after the defendant has filed a notice of appeal.
(d) An opinion or memorandum of decision filed by the court satisfies the requirement to find the essential facts if they appear in the opinion or memorandum.
(e) If the court omits a finding on any issue of fact essential to sustain the general finding, it must be deemed to have made a finding consistent with the general finding.

Subd. 3. Trial on Stipulated Fads; Trial on Stipulated Evidence.

(a) The defendant and the prosecutor may agree that a determination of the defendant's guilt, or the existence of facts to support an aggravated sentence, or both, may be submitted to and tried by the court based entirely on stipulated facts, stipulated evidence, or both.
(b) The defendant, after an opportunity to consult with counsel, must waive the right to a jury trial under Rule 26.01. subdivision 1(2)(a), or subdivision 1(2)(b), or both, and must personally waive the following specific rights:
(1) to testify at trial;
(2) to have the prosecution witnesses testify in open court in the defendant's presence;
(3) to question those prosecution witnesses; and
(4) to require any favorable witnesses to testify for the defense in court.
(c) The agreement and the waiver must be in writing or be placed on the record.
(d) If the parties use this procedure to determine the issues of the defendant's guilt, and the existence of facts to support an aggravated sentence, the defendant must make a separate waiver of the above-listed rights as to each issue.
(e) On submission of the case entirely on stipulated facts. stipulated evidence, or both, the court must proceed under subdivision 2 of this rule as in any other trial to the court.
(f) If the court finds the defendant guilty based entirely on the stipulated facts, stipulated evidence, or both, the defendant may appeal from the judgment of conviction and raise issues on appeal as from any trial to the court.

Subd. 4. Stipulation to Prosecution's Case to Obtain Review of a Pretrial Ruling.

(a) When the parties agree that the court's ruling on a specified pretrial issue is dispositive of the case, or that the ruling makes a contested trial unnecessary, the following procedure must be used to preserve the issue for appellate review.
(b) The defendant must maintain the plea of not guilty.
(c) The defendant and the prosecutor must acknowledge that the pretrial issue is dispositive, or that a trial will be unnecessary if the defendant prevails on appeal.
(d) The defendant, after an opportunity to consult with counsel, must waive the right to a jury trial under Rule 26.01, subdivision 1(2)(a), and must personally waive the rights specified in Rule 26.01, subdivision 3(b)(1)-(4).
(e) The defendant must stipulate to the prosecution's evidence in a trial to the court, and acknowledge that the court will consider the prosecution's evidence, and that the court may enter a finding of guilt based on that evidence.
(f) The defendant must also acknowledge that appellate review will be of the pretrial issue, but not of the defendant's guilt, or of other issues that could arise at a contested trial.
(g) The defendant and the prosecutor must make the preceding acknowledgments personally, in writing or on the record.
(h) After consideration of the stipulated evidence, the court must make an appropriate finding, and if that finding is guilty, the court must also make findings of fact on the record or in writing as to each element of the offense(s).

Minn. R. Crim. P. 26.01

Amended July 17, 2017, effective October 1, 2017; amended June 28, 2018, effective September 1, 2018.