District Court of Minnesota

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District Court of Minnesota
EstablishedMay 8, 1858 (1858-05-08)
LocationMinnesota Judicial Center
Saint Paul
Composition methodNonpartisan election, appointment by the governor if filling midterm vacancy
Authorized byMinnesota Constitution
Appeals toMinnesota Court of Appeals
Judge term length6 years (mandatory retirement at the age of 70)
Judicial district map

The District Court of Minnesota is the state trial court of general jurisdiction in the U.S. state of Minnesota.

Jurisdiction of the court[edit]

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.[1]

Structure of the court[edit]

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.[2] However, the Minnesota Constitution only refers to the "district court" in the singular (as a single statewide court).[3] As the Court of Appeals has recognized, "Minnesota trial benches were consolidated into a single district court."[4]

In 2019 there were 289 judges of the district court in Minnesota.[5] 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:

List of District Court of Minnesota judicial districts
# Counties served
First Judicial District Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott and Sibley counties.
Second Judicial District Ramsey County.
Third Judicial District Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona counties.
Fourth Judicial District Hennepin County.
Fifth Judicial District Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock and Watonwan counties.
Sixth Judicial District Carlton, Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties.
Seventh Judicial District Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties.
Eighth Judicial District Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine counties.
Ninth Judicial 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 Judicial District Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington and Wright counties.


  1. ^ "Minnesota Judicial Branch - Minnesota Court of Appeals".
  2. ^ Minn. Stat. § 484.01.
  3. ^ Minn. Const., art. 6, § 1.
  4. ^ Real Estate Equity Strategies, LLC v. Jones, 720 N.W.2d 352, 357 (Minn. App. 2006).
  5. ^ District Courts, Minnesota Judicial Branch. Retrieved November 1, 2019.

External links[edit]