News Item
Free legal assistance offered as part of Law Day celebration at the Kandiyohi County Courthouse on May 3

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Supreme Court justice, Court of Appeals Judge, and Eighth Judicial District Judge will provide keynote presentation and participate in informational session

On Friday, May 3, the Kandiyohi County Courthouse in Willmar will host a Law Day “Open Courthouse” event designed to showcase the work of Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District, and educate 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 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The Open Courthouse event will feature numerous activities, including:
  • A kick-off event featuring remarks by Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen and Kandiyohi County District Court Judge Stephen Wentzell;
  • An information fair with an opportunity to learn more about Minnesota's justice system, its partner organizations, and resources available to self-represented litigants;
  • Guided tours of the courthouse; and
  • Demonstrations of the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office SWAT vehicle and K-9 unit.
Somali and Spanish language Interpreters will be available to assist visitors.
Also available at the Open Courthouse are legal advice clinics provided by Central Minnesota Legal Services.
“As we celebrate Law Day, we wanted to open the doors of the courthouse and give the public an opportunity to learn more about their local justice system,” said Kandiyohi County District Court Judge Stephen Wentzell. “I am especially pleased that Justice Paul Thissen and Judge Lucinda Jesson will be here at the event to join me for an informational session on the three levels of Minnesota Courts.”
A detailed schedule of events for the May 8 event is provided below:
[12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.] Keynote presentation in Courtroom 210
  • The public will join Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen and Kandiyohi County District Court Judge Stephen Wentzell for a presentation about Minnesota’s Judicial Branch.
[1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.] Guided tours of the courthouse
  • Visitors can take guided tours of the Kandiyohi County Courthouse with court staff.  A highlight of the tour is a stop in a courtroom with a presentation by Justice Paul Thissen, Court of Appeals Judge Lucinda Jesson, and Judge Stephen Wentzell on the three levels of courts.  Tours will depart every 20 minutes, and last approximately 35 minutes.
[1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.] Information fair on the main level of the courthouse
  • Attendees can visit information fair booths that will showcase the work of justice system partners in the local community and learn about legal resources available to the public.
[12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.] Free legal advice clinic on the lower level
  • Visitors needing legal advice can meet with volunteer attorneys from Central Minnesota Legal Services.
[12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.] SWAT vehicle and K-9 viewing
  • The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office will have its SWAT vehicle available for viewing and its K-9 team on hand to greet visitors.
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 Eighth Judicial District in partnership with Kandiyohi County and local justice system partners.
More information, including flyers in Somali and Spanish, are available at   
The Kandiyohi County Courthouse is located at 505 Becker Avenue SW in Willmar. The Courthouse is a secured building, and all visitors are subject to screening before entering. Free public parking is available.