Face coverings required in court facilities.
The response to COVID-19 has impacted access to courthouses and may change the way cases are handled.
Learn more »
First District Case Filings Data

The Honorable Kathryn Davis Messerich Elected First Judicial District Chief Judge

Chief Judge Messerich
The Honorable Kathryn Davis Messerich, who was serving as assistant chief judge of Minnesota’s First Judicial District, was elected to serve as chief judge of the District by her fellow judges in the District in 2017.
Her term as chief judge was effective July 1.

Chief Judge Messerich has served the First Judicial District since April 2004. Prior to her appointment, she spent 17 years in private practice as a civil trial lawyer. Judge Messerich is chambered in the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota.

The Honorable David L. Knutson was elected as assistant chief judge in the First District in 2017. Judge Knutson was appointed to the bench in June 2004. He previously spent 18 years in private practice, and he served as a Minnesota state senator for 12 years, representing the communities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Lakeville, and Rosemount, and serving as an assistant minority leader for seven years. Judge Knutson’s chambers are also located in Hastings.

Equal Justice Committee Sponsors Community Listening Sessions

In April 2017, the First Judicial District Equal Justice Committee hosted its first Community Listening Session in Apple Valley. The purpose of the event was for the public to meet the judges and share ideas and concerns related to the court system. A follow-up Session was held in October. At the October Session, judges reported to the community regarding the court’s responses to concerns raised at the April Session. Approximately 40-50 community members
were in attendance. A report on the October session is available on the Committee for Equality and Justice webpage.

Longtime Spanish Interpreter Posthumously Receives Amicus Curiae Award

The First Judicial District awarded its seventh annual Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) Award to Manuel Roman, posthumously, on May 12, 2017. Roman was an integral part of the Dakota County court system as a Spanish interpreter for approximately 30 years. He worked as an independent contractor who strived to go above and beyond the expectations of the Latino community. With his love for personal connections, his desire to help others, and his gift for Spanish-English translation, Roman was a “piece of the woodwork” in the halls of the Dakota County courthouses in Apple Valley, Hastings, and West St. Paul.

New Security Measures Improve Safety of Goodhue County Justice Center

Goodhue County officials implemented new security measures at the Goodhue County Justice Center in 2017, including new equipment and full-time staffing of the screening equipment located at the building’s public entrance. The steps were taken to better protect citizens who enter the building to attend district court proceedings, meet with County Attorney or Guardian ad Litem staff, or visit the Goodhue County Law Library. The screening of all those entering the building began on May 8.

Scott County Court Administrator Elected President of National Association for Court Management

Scott County Court Administrator Vicky Carlson of Shakopee, MN, was elected president of the National Association for Court Management (NACM) in 2017, for a term ending in July 2018. Prior to her service in Scott County, Carlson served for seven years as the court administrator in Carver County, MN.

NACM is the largest organization of court management professionals in the world, with more than 1,700 members from the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries. NACM is dedicated to educating court leaders, providing community, sharing information, and advocating
on important court and justice system topics.

Dakota County “Open Courthouse” Held for Public

On September 15, 2017, the Dakota County Judicial Center in Hastings opened its doors to the public as part of a Constitution Day “Open Courthouse” event. During the very successful event, about 250 total visitors took a behind the scenes tour of the courthouse, heard presentations from judges and local justice system officials, viewed live court reporter and mock jury selection demonstrations, received free legal assistance through the Mobile Law Network, and attended an information fair designed to highlight justice system programs and services available in the

First Judicial District Chief Judge Kathryn Messerich opened the event with a welcome presentation, followed by First District Assistant Chief Judge David Knutson informing visitors about the three branches of government. From the Minnesota Supreme Court, Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea and Associate Justice Margaret Chutich spoke on the importance of the Judicial Branch.

In addition, Dakota County Board Commissioner Joe Atkins and Dakota County Administrator Matt Smith accepted a plaque honoring the Board’s substantial contributions to the redesign of the Judicial Center and the continuous efforts to ensure safe and secure facilities at all three Dakota County courthouses in Apple Valley, Hastings, and West St. Paul.