Minnesota has three different types of courts: district courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.
The district courts constitute the bottom tier of the system. These courts, which are located in each of the state's 87 counties, are where most cases begin. District courts handle a broad range of cases, ranging from traffic violations to first-degree murder trials. Some district courts have separate divisions, such as criminal, civil, family, juvenile, and probate.
Decisions made by the district courts may be appealed to the Court of Appeals. Appellate judges, who hear cases in three-judge panels, may overturn lower courts' decisions or let them stand.
Decisions in the Court of Appeals may be further appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, the top court in the state. Election contests and appeals from first-degree murder cases automatically go to the Supreme Court.
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