Janice Cossette - Court Administrator
Becker County is one of ten counties in the Minnesota Seventh Judicial District. Minnesota is a state-funded and administered
trial court system. Becker County has two resident District Judges and two other judges are assigned on a rotating basis. Hearings
and conferences are also held at the Becker County Courthouse for the Federal Bankruptcy Court, Social Security Administration,
Worker's Compensation, Tax Court and Child Support.
Although we still identify courts by county and use county boundaries, Minnesota has a unified trial court system, without the
divisions or layers found in many other states. For example, we have no municipal or local courts, and judges are all "general
jurisdiction" and could theoretically, for example, handle a traffic ticket in the morning and a murder trial in the afternoon.
Minnesota's District Courts handle civil, criminal, conciliation (small claims), probate, juvenile, traffic, family, child support,
and child protection cases.
Court Administrators have been appointed by the District Judges of their Judicial District since 1975.
Court Administration staff conducts and manages the daily administrative, technical, and support operations of
the court and the processing of cases.
What does that mean? Well, for example...
- we answer hundreds of telephone calls and in-person questions per day, give out information on available court
forms to a steady stream of visitors to court, and keep track of what often seems like a blizzard of new laws
and procedures every year.
- we process paperwork, court filings, letters, motions, and notices
- we organize, retrieve, store, preserve, and copy the files, paperwork, and records of court proceedings, for
some cases stretching back many years
- we set cases on the court's calendars, keep the workflow organized, help the judges with whatever they need,
arrange for foreign language interpreters, call jurors for jury duty, issue warrants, manage fine collections and
court finances, post calendars, and generally keep the cases organized and moving.
Court administration is a very fast-paced and complex job, with a wide variety of functions and responsibilities.