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Minnesota Court Records

Since the Internet has made court records so easily accessible to the public, there is little reason to physically travel and request them anymore. Today, you can conduct a quick search online to find the genealogical clues, criminal and civil court records or recent court opinions and decisions. Most of these records are available through the Minnesota State Law Library and the court system, and they both offer the ability to search their records online. Divorce records, property records, probate records and small claims files can all provide insight to the daily lives of past generations.

Minnesota Court Records

History of Minnesota Courts

Minnesota court records began to accrue at the Minnesota State Law Library in 1849, when it and the territory were officially created on March 3. There was originally a $5,000 allowance to help establish the library and pay for its contents. The Supreme Court then took over the library in the 1870s and ensured the collections housed there centered on the law. In the course of history, the library has been located in a hotel, market, log tavern, former Ford Motor company factory and three different capitol buildings. Since 1990, it has been located at the Minnesota Judicial Center in St. Paul.

Minnesota Court Statistics

Minnesota Courts recieve 1,458,882 filings per year. In 2016, the state court caseload counted 1,283,798 filings and had 1,273,267 dispositions.

Total State Caseloads

Year Caseloads
2012 1,598,994
2013 1,637,195
2014 1,476,152
2015 1,298,272
2016 1,283,798

Minnesota Court Records Availability

Minnesota Court Records are largely available at either the Minnesota State Law Library or the Minnesota court system online. The library holds legal periodicals, Supreme Court decisions, oral arguments, and historical documents, copies of state and federal statutes, law reviews and legal journals.

In addition, the public can access court records through a trial court case search online if they know a party’s name, court date, attorney name or case number. Many civil and criminal court cases are found online in this manner. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court records are also searchable online.

Copies of court rules, procedures and forms necessary to defend yourself in the court of law are found online as well as in the library. Other documents of interest include divorce records, small claims and property disputes.

Share of Court Type Incoming Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Traffic: 889,471 (69.3 %)
Domestic Relations: 49,714 (3.9 %)
Criminal: 183,129 (14.3 %)
Civil: 161,484 (12.6 %)

Share of Court Type Outgoing Caseloads

Court Type Caseloads
Traffic: 960,080 (75.4 %)
Domestic Relations: 42,728 (3.4 %)
Criminal: 117,951 (9.3 %)
Civil: 152,508 (12.0 %)

Minnesota Main Court Information

The Minnesota Supreme Court is the court of last resort in the state, and there are seven justices serving six-year terms. There are elected in nonpartisan elections, and the court sits at the Minnesota Judicial Center and the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. This court hears appeals from lower level courts including the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, Minnesota Tax Court, Board of Judicial Standards and Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board.

Other cases that the court exercises mandatory jurisdiction over include election contest appeals and first degree murder appeals.

Family Court Cases

Domestic relations caseload of Minnesota at year end 2016 has decreased by 26.1% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases was 62,689 with a rate of 1,165 cases per 100,000 population, higher than it's in 2016.

Year Domestic Relations Caseload Total Statewide Caseload
2015 53,347 1,298,272
2016 49,714 1,283,798

Domestic Relations Clearance Rates

Year Incoming Caseload Outgoing Caseload Caseload per 100,000 Population
2015 53,347 42,149 972
2016 49,714 42,728 901

States with More & Less Domestic Relation Caseloads than Minnesota

More Domestic Relations Cases than Minnesota:

State: Caseload:
New York 570,709
Texas 397,468
California 388,903
Pennsylvania 342,163
Virginia 342,040

Less Domestic Relations Cases than Minnesota:

State: Caseload:
Connecticut 49,660
Wisconsin 47,239
Colorado 44,152
New Mexico 43,588
Kansas 34,696

Minnesota Caseload Statistics

The Minnesota Supreme Court receives very few appeals on an annual basis. In 2007, there were 132 filings and 126 dispositions. In 2014, there were 115 filings and 99 dispositions.

Minnesota Criminal Caseloads

The number of criminal cases in Minnesota counts 183,129 with 42,880 felony cases and 140,249 misdemeanors accordingly.

Year Criminal Caseload Misdemeanor Caseload Felony Caseload
2012 165,669 33,543 132,126
2013 167,474 35,322 132,152
2014 182,588 39,024 143,564
2015 207,477 43,410 151,882
2016 183,129 42,880 140,249

State Civil Caseload & Clearance Rates

In the last 5 years the number of civil cases has decreased by 27,890 cases, it went from 189,374 to 161,484.

Year Civil Caseload Clearance Rate
2015 168,818 97
2016 161,484 94