News Item
Public invited to tour newly-renovated Steele County Courthouse and celebrate Law Day on May 1

Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Supreme Court justice and Third Judicial District assistant chief judge will speak at recognition ceremony

On Tuesday, May 1, the Steele County Courthouse in Owatonna will host a Law Day “Open Courthouse” event designed to showcase the work of Minnesota’s Third Judicial District, and educate students and the public about the role of judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and citizens in administering Minnesota’s justice system. The public and media are invited to attend the event, which runs from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Open Courthouse event will feature numerous activities, including:
  • A special visit from Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson;
  • An opportunity to meet local district court judges and justice system partners;
  • Self-guided tours and an information fair in the Steele County Courthouse;
  • A display of historical information about the Steele County Courthouse;
  • A “You Decide” program with participants acting as mock jurors; and,
  • A special ceremony to recognize those who assisted in the aftermath of the pipe bursting in the courthouse.
In addition, students from Owatonna and surrounding communities will have an opportunity to visit the Courthouse earlier in the day to participate in a special program to educate young people about their justice system.
“Through local and state partnerships, the Steel County Courthouse has been restored and improved,” said Minnesota Third Judicial District Assistant Chief Judge Joseph A. Bueltel. “As we celebrate Law Day, we want to give our community an opportunity to see the refurbished Courthouse, to recognize those who helped make the Courthouse transition and transformation a success, and to learn more about the people and partnerships that work to preserve the rule of law in our state.”
A detailed schedule of events for the May 1 event is provided below:

[1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.] Student activity
  • Students from Owatonna and surrounding communities will get a special, behind-the-scenes tour of the Courthouse, visit with judges and staff, and meet justice system partners.
[2:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.] Self-guided tours and information fair
  • Visitors can take self-guided tours of the Steele County Courthouse and visit information fair booths that will showcase the work of many of the justice system partners in the local community, share legal resources available to the public, and highlight new advancements in criminal justice and court technology being implemented across the state.
[3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.] “You Decide” closing argument program
  • Participants will observe closing arguments, participate in deliberations, and decide the outcome of a mock case.  The program will be moderated by Judge Karen Duncan, and members of the local bar association will play the roles of prosecutor and defense attorney.
[5:30 p.m.] Welcoming remarks and recognition ceremony with Minnesota Supreme Court Justice G. Barry Anderson and Minnesota Third Judicial District Assistant Chief Judge Joseph A. Bueltel
  • The recognition ceremony will be held in Courtroom B. The event will feature remarks by Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice G. Barry Anderson, Third Judicial District Assistant Chief Judge Joseph A. Bueltel, and local and state partners who helped with the transition to and transformation of the Courthouse.
The Open Courthouse event is scheduled to coincide with Law Day, a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share. Law Day was first established in 1958 through a proclamation by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Congress passed a joint resolution designating May 1 as Law Day, U.S.A, in 1961.
The Law Day Open Courthouse event is being hosted by Minnesota’s Third Judicial District in partnership with Steele County, the Steele County Bar Association, and local justice system partners.

More information about the event will be provided in the weeks ahead, and will also be posted at

The Steele County Courthouse is located at 111 East Main Street in Owatonna. The Courthouse is a secured building, and all visitors are subject to screening before entering. Free public parking is available.