Minnesota District Courts
The Minnesota District Court System handles criminal, civil and family cases in each of Minnesota's 87 counties. The counties are divided into 10 judicial districts. In 2008, the combined district court system heard about 2 million cases.
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.
Each of the 10 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 non-partisan 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. When a vacancy occurs, the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection accepts and evaluates applicants, and recommends three-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.
District judge salaries
Section 5 of Article VI of the Minnesota Constitution says that "The compensation of all judges [in Minnesota] shall be prescribed by the legislature and shall not be diminished during their term of office."
In 2009, district court judges in Minnesota earned these salaries:
- District Court Chief Judge: $135,580
- District Court Judge: $129,124