2017 Dakota County Open Courthouse Event

The public is invited to celebrate Constitution Day at the Dakota County "Open Courthouse" event on September 15.
Dakota County Open Courthouse Flyer Banner Download the Open Courthouse flyer

On Friday, September 15, the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings will open its doors to the public as part of a Constitution Day “Open Courthouse” event. The event is being held to showcase the work of Minnesota’s courts, and educate the public about the work of judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and citizens in administering the state’s justice system. The free, open-to-the public event, will run from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
 
The Open Courthouse event will feature numerous activities, including:
  • A special welcome short welcoming presentation featuring local judges, county commissioners, and two justices from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
  • An opportunity to meet local district court judges and justice system partners.
  • Self-guided “behind-the-scenes” tours of the Dakota County Justice Center, with presentations by judges and Dakota County justice partners.
  • Free, one-on-one legal assistance with health care planning and completion of advance care directives will be provided through Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s Mobile Law Network
  • An information fair with representatives from numerous law- and justice-related organizations.
  • Information on legal resources and other services available in the community.               
The Open Courthouse event is scheduled to coincide with Constitution Day, a federal day of observance during which Americans reflect on the rights and freedoms granted to them through the signing of the United States Constitution. 
 
The Constitution Day Open Courthouse event is being hosted by Minnesota’s First Judicial District in partnership with Dakota County and local justice system partners.

12:30 p.m.
Welcoming Ceremony and Plaque Presentation (Jury Assembly Room, Lower Level)

The welcoming ceremony will be held in the jury assembly room located on the lower level of the Dakota County Judicial Center. The event will feature remarks by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea, Associate Justice Margaret H. Chutich, Chief Judge Messerich, and members of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners. Chief Justice Gildea will present the County with a commemorative plaque recognizing the redesign of the Judicial Center. First Judicial District Assistant Chief Judge David Knutson will close the program with a presentation about the three branches of government.

 

12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Free Legal Assistance Available Through Mobile Law Network

Visitors to the Dakota County “Open Courthouse” event in Hastings on September 15 will have the opportunity to receive free, one-on-one legal assistance with health care planning and completion of advance care directives. The legal assistance will be provided through Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s Mobile Law Network

The program uses a specially designed vehicle—nicknamed “The Wheels of Justice”—to transport law students throughout Minnesota to support a variety of legal services. Students provide information and assistance to those representing themselves and others who need guidance on legal matters. The vehicle is equipped with two private office spaces, allowing students to hold two simultaneous confidential meetings with potential clients.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Self-Guided Tours with Presentations by Local Justice System Partners

The public is invited take self-guided tours of the Dakota County Judicial Center anytime between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Building maps and informational brochures will be available in the jury assembly room on the Lower Level.
 
Throughout the building, guests will be able to learn about their justice system and county government by meeting with judges, attorneys, law enforcement, county officials, and staff.

 
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Information Fair (Lower and Middle Levels)

Visitors can take a self-guided walk through an information fair designed to 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. Guests can also meet an officer and dog from the Dakota County Drug Task Force outside the Law Enforcement Center from 1 - 3 p.m.

 
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  AND 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Mock Jury Selections (Courtroom 1F, Middle Level)

Members of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) will educate visitors about the right to a jury trial under the 7th Amendment.  The presentation by judges and attorneys will include a mock voir dire (the preliminary examination of a juror), mock jury selection, and a short question and answer session.  

Visitors to the Dakota County “Open Courthouse” event in Hastings on September 15 will have the opportunity to receive free, one-on-one legal assistance with health care planning and completion of advance care directives.
 
The legal assistance will be provided through Mitchell Hamline School of Law’s Mobile Law Network. The program uses a specially designed vehicle—nicknamed “The Wheels of Justice”—to transport law students throughout Minnesota to support a variety of legal services. Students provide information and assistance to those representing themselves and others who need guidance on legal matters. The vehicle is equipped with two private office spaces, allowing students to hold two simultaneous confidential meetings with potential clients.
 
The Mobile Law Network will be available at the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. during the September 15th event. Law students will be available to assist individuals with health care planning and completion of advance care directives. There is no cost for this service and individuals will be assisted on a first come, first served basis. 

1:00 - 4:00 PM  Self-guided Courthouse Tours (Lower and Middle Levels)

The public is invited take self-guided tours of the Dakota County Judicial Center, with stops including courtrooms and other areas of interest, and the chance to hear from a local district court judge or other justice system officials.

Tour stops include:

  • Jury Assembly Room
  • Information Booths
  • Juvenile Courts
  • Self Help Area
  • Book and Release
  • Courtroom 1F: Mock Jury Selection Demonstrations
  • Courtroom 1E: "Ask a Judge" and Court Reporter Demonstration
  • Courtroom 1D and Holding Cell
  • Courtroom 1B: Interactive Television (ITV) Demonstration and Judge Chamber 109
  • Courtroom 1A: "Ask A Judge"
  • In-Custody Courtroom
  • Law Library
  • Sheriff Vehicles and Dakota County Drig Task Force K9 Demonstration (1 - 3 PM only)
     
The Open Courthouse event will include an information fair with representatives from numerous law- and justice-related organizations, including:
  • Community Corrections
  • Dakota County Attorney's Office
  • Dakota County Sheriff's Office
  • Minnesota Guardians ad Litem
  • Minnesota Judicial Branch Self Help Center
  • 360 Communities
  • Minnesota Judicial Branch Specialty Courts
  • Criminal Defense Panel
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • Legal Aid
  • Minnesota Public Defenders Office
  • Dakota County Crisis Response Unit
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Dakota County District Court
  • Mobile Law Network
Information tables will be located on the Lower and Middle Levels of the Dakota County Judicial Center, and in the Law Library on the Upper Level.
The Dakota County Judicial Center is located at 1560 Highway 55 in Hastings.  Free visitor parking is available in the parking lot in front of the Judicial Center.

Please note: The Dakota County Courthouse is a secured building, and all visitors are subject to screening before entering. 
 

Dakota County Judicial Center

Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, MN
1560 Highway 55
Hastings, MN 55033
Phone: (651) 438-8100
Get Directions

Map to the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, MN.

The Judicial Center is located on the north side of Highway 55 as you enter the city of Hastings from the west.  The District Court is in the middle building on the first floor.

From the west:  
1. Take County Road 42 east to Highway 55.
2. Take a right eight miles to General Sieben Drive (stoplight intersection). The Government Center complex is on your left.

From the north:  
1. Take Highway 494 to Highway 61 south.
2. Continue south to Highway 55 (stoplight intersection). 
3. Take a right (west) about 3 miles to General Sieben Drive. The Government Center complex is on the right.

From St. Paul 
1. Take Highway 52 south to Highway 55 east.  
2. Continue east on Highway 55 about 10 miles to General Sieben Drive (first stoplight intersection as you enter the city of Hastings). 
3. Take a left. The Government Center is on the right. 

From Minneapolis
1. Take 35W south to Crosstown Highway 62.
2.  Go east on Highway 62.  This turns into Highway 55.  
3.  Continue east on Highway 55 to General Sieben Drive (first stoplight intersection as you enter the city of Hastings). 
4. Take a left. The Government Center is on the right.