Janice Cossette - Court Administrator
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.
What Does Court Administration Do?
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.