Minnesota Case Law
The Minnesota state court system is divided into three levels. The highest court in Minnesota is the Minnesota Supreme Court, which consists of seven judges. The Supreme Court reviews appeals of decisions by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. It reviews direct appeals from trial courts in cases involving contested elections and first-degree murder. The Supreme Court also reviews appeals of decisions by the Minnesota Tax Court and the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals. Decisions by the Minnesota Supreme Court are final unless the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to review an appeal of a decision.
The middle level of the Minnesota state court system is the Minnesota Court of Appeals. It contains 19 judges, who review appeals of decisions by trial courts, state administrative agencies, and other government entities in three-judge panels. Decisions by the Court of Appeals are final in the vast majority of cases that it reviews.
The lowest level of the Minnesota state court system consists primarily of the Minnesota District Courts. These courts are trial courts with general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases. They are divided into 10 judicial districts, each of which is supervised by a chief judge, an assistant chief judge, and a judicial district administrator. Some District Courts contain departments that specialize in hearing certain types of cases. These often include probate matters, juvenile matters, or family law matters. District Courts also may divide civil and criminal cases into separate departments.