|District Court of Minnesota|
|Established||May 8, 1858|
|Location||Minnesota Judicial Center|
|Composition method||Nonpartisan election, appointment by the governor if filling midterm vacancy|
|Authorized by||Minnesota Constitution|
|Appeals to||Minnesota Court of Appeals|
|Judge term length||6 years (mandatory retirement at the age of 70)|
Jurisdiction of the court
The Minnesota Constitution provides that the district court has original jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases and such appellate jurisdiction as may be prescribed by law. Appeals from these courts usually go to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Structure of the court
It is common to refer to the "district courts" in the plural, as if each court in each judicial district is a separate court; this is the usage found in Chapter 484 of the Minnesota Statutes, which governs the jurisdiction, powers, procedure, organization, and operations of the district court. However, the Minnesota Constitution only refers to the "district court" in the singular (as a single statewide court). As the Court of Appeals has recognized, "Minnesota trial benches were consolidated into a single district court."
In 2019 there were 289 judges of the district court in Minnesota. They are assigned to geographic districts. Each district has three or more judges, who are elected by the voters of the district in nonpartisan judicial elections to six-year terms. Candidates file for a specific judgeship by seat number. Vacancies are filled by appointment of the governor. The chief judge and assistant chief judge of each district are elected from judges of that district to exercise general administrative authority over the courts of the district. The chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court has the power to assign judges from one district to serve in another.
There are ten judicial districts, each comprising one or more of Minnesota's 87 counties:
- First Judicial District – Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott, Sibley
- Second Judicial District – Ramsey
- Third Judicial District – Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Winona
- Fourth Judicial District – Hennepin
- Fifth Judicial District – Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Watonwan
- Sixth Judicial District – Carlton, Cook, Lake, St. Louis
- Seventh Judicial District – Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, Wadena
- Eighth Judicial District – Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine
- Ninth Judicial District – Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau
- Tenth Judicial District – Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, Wright
- "Minnesota Judicial Branch - Minnesota Court of Appeals".
- Minn. Stat. § 484.01.
- Minn. Const., art. 6, § 1.
- Real Estate Equity Strategies, LLC v. Jones, 720 N.W.2d 352, 357 (Minn. App. 2006).
- District Courts, Minnesota Judicial Branch. Retrieved November 1, 2019.