Minnesota District Courts

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The Minnesota District Court System handles criminal, civil and family cases in each of Minnesota's 87 counties. The counties are divided into ten judicial districts. In 2008, the combined district court system heard about two million cases.[1]

Section 3 of Article VI of the Minnesota Constitution defines the scope of the cases heard in Minnesota's district courts, saying "The district court has original jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases and shall have appellate jurisdiction as prescribed by law."

District court judges

Number of judges

In 2009, there were 289 District Court judges in Minnesota's district court system. These judges hear cases ranging from first degree murder trials to civil and family conflicts to traffic tickets and citations. Some of the district courts are divided into departments that tend to specific cases, such as criminal, civil, probate, family, and juvenile courts.[1]

Each of the ten judicial districts in the district court system is managed by a chief judge with the help of an assistant chief judge and a judicial district administrator.

How judges are chosen

See also: Judicial selection in Minnesota

Minnesota's district court judges are elected to six-year terms in nonpartisan elections, as set out in Section 7 of Article VI of the Minnesota Constitution

Judicial vacancies created by the mid-term death or retirement of judges in the district courts are filled via appointment.[1] When a vacancy occurs, the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection accepts and evaluates applicants, and recommends three to five candidates to the governor. The governor, however, is not required to appoint from the list submitted to him or her by this judicial selection commission.

The Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection was created in 1989 by the Minnesota legislature to advise the governor on appointments to the district court.


Candidates for the position of district court judge in Minnesota must be "learned in the law". They are subject to mandatory retirement when they reach the age of 70.[2]


District Counties served
First District Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, LeSueur, McLeod, Scott and Sibley Counties
Second District Ramsey
Third District Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona Counties
Fourth District Hennepin
Fifth District Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock and Watonwan Counties
Sixth District Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis Counties
Seventh District Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena Counties
Eighth District Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin and Yellow Medicine Counties
Ninth District Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau Counties
Tenth District Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington and Wright Counties

See also

External links


MinnesotaMinnesota Supreme CourtMinnesota Court of AppealsMinnesota District CourtsMinnesota Problem-Solving CourtsMinnesota Tax CourtMinnesota Workers' Compensation Court of AppealsUnited States District Court for the District of MinnesotaUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MinnesotaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitMinnesota countiesMinnesota judicial newsMinnesota judicial electionsJudicial selection in MinnesotaMinnesotaTemplate.jpg