Minnesota District Courts
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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.
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. 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 salary is $145,233 for chief judges and $138,318 for judges. The chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court has the power to assign judges from one district to serve in another.
The district courts are divided into ten judicial districts, each covering one or more of Minnesota's 87 counties:
- First Judicial Circuit – Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott, Sibley
- Second Judicial Circuit – Ramsey
- Third Judicial Circuit – Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Winona
- Fourth Judicial Circuit – Hennepin
- Fifth Judicial Circuit – Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Watonwan
- Sixth Judicial Circuit – Carlton, Cook, Lake, St. Louis
- Seventh Judicial Circuit – Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, Wadena
- Eighth Judicial Circuit – Big Stone, Chippewa, Grant, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Renville, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wilkin, Yellow Medicine
- Ninth Judicial Circuit – Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau
- Tenth Judicial Circuit – Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, Wright
The following is a list of judges who have presided over district courts:
- Kathleen A. Blatz, former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1996–2006. Fourth Judicial District Court, Hennepin County from 1994–1996.
- Wilbur Franklin Booth, Hennepin County district judge from 1909 to 1914.
- Kevin Burke, Fourth Judicial District Court, Hennepin County from 1984–present.
- Joan N. Ericksen, 4th Judicial District Court, Hennepin County, 1995 to 1998.
- Lorie Skjerven Gildea, current Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Fourth Judicial District Court, Hennepin County from 2005–2006.
- Diana E. Murphy, current justice on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
- Ann D. Montgomery, current United States federal judge. Fourth Judicial District Court, Hennepin County from 1983–1985.
- Profile from the Minnesota Secretary of State