Minnesota Judicial System and Court System: How Does it Work?
The Minnesota court system is comprised of three levels.
- Supreme Court
- Court of Appeals
- District (Trial) Courts
Supreme Court in Minnesota
The Chief Justice handles the overall management of the Minnesota Supreme Court. In addition to this, the Chief Justice is also the administrative head of the Judicial Branch. In 2005, the trial courts experienced a transition to full state funding which prompted the Judicial Branch of Minnesota to introduce a new structure of governance called the Judicial Council. The Judicial Council is now the single administrative policy-making body for the Judicial Branch.
The Judicial Council is served by staff from the State Court Administrator’s Office. The staff provides central administrative infrastructure services to all of the Judicial Branch. Services provided include human resources, statewide program management, finance, research and evaluation services, legal research, communications, information technology, statewide program management and so on.
The Supreme Court is led by the Chief Justice who has many responsibilities. The Chief Justice’s responsibilities include handling cases that are presented to the court, regulating the practice of law as well as promulgation of statewide rules of procedure and practice before all of the courts of the state. Seven Justices serve on the Supreme Court.
Minnesota Court of Appeals
The Minnesota Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in the state of Minnesota in the U.S. It formally began operation on 1st November 1983. The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over most appeals from Minnesota’s trial courts as well as the District Courts. It also has jurisdiction over many decisions of state agencies as well as local governments.
There are exceptions to their grant of jurisdiction. Statewide election contests, first-degree murder cases as well as appeals from the Minnesota Tax Court and Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals all go directly to the Minnesota Supreme Court instead of the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals has a chief judge who is appointed by the governor to serve for a three-year term who serves as the head of that court. 19 judges are serving the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
District Court of Minnesota
The District Court has jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases as highlighted by the Minnesota Constitution. Appeals from the District Court of Minnesota more often than not go to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
The court is structured in such a way so that each district has a minimum of three or more judges. These judges are elected by voters of the district in nonpartisan judicial elections to six-year terms. The chief judge, as well as assistant chief judge of each district, are elected from judges of the district to exercise general administrative authority over the courts of the district. Chief judges receive a salary of $145,233 while judges receive a salary of $138,318. The chief justice serving in the Minnesota Supreme Court reserves the power to assign judges from one district to serve in another district.
A district court judge in each district is elected to be a chief judge by the bench for a two-year term. The chief judge has the responsibility of managing an entire judicial district. A judicial district administrator assists the chief judge. The day-to-day operations in each county are overseen by a county court administrator in each county. Currently, there are 294 district court judges.
The Minnesota Judicial System and Court System is an intricate web of clever framework design. Learning more about it can do wonders to help any case you might face in Minnesota courts.
There are plenty of different nooks and crannies of information that will keep surprising you about the courts so make sure you do your research.