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Lesson Plans

No Vehicles in the Park - Grades 3-8 (PDF)

Objectives: To learn about the court’s role as interpreter of laws and to understand the sometimes difficult duty of considering the letter of the law as well as the intent of the law.

Resolving Conflicts - Grades K-5 (PDF)

Objectives:  To learn the mediation process for resolving conflict and to learn the courts’ role of resolving conflicts peacefully.

Choosing a Judge - Grades 7-12 (PDF)

Objectives: To explain and evaluate the procedures used to select judges. To understand the governor’s constitutional power to appoint judges. To identify factors that are considered in judicial appointments.

 

The following lessons were developed as part of a curriculum-development workshop that was sponsored by the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society, with the assistance of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota State Bar Association Civic Education Committee, and the Learning Law and Democracy Foundation. Lesson development was supported in part with funds from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution, which Minnesotans passed into law via the 2008 general election ballot. 

Understanding the Minnesota Judiciary: Legislators and Judges are Different - Grades 9-12 (PDF)

Students will learn that judges and legislators have different roles to play in our system of government by analyzing a case study that describes the development and application of the Minnesota Move Over traffic law, which requires that drivers move over a lane when approaching a squad car involved in a traffic stop. Students will storyboard the steps taken as the law moves from the legislature through the three levels of the court system and then back to the legislature. Lesson includes a student reading and comparison chart.  

Understanding the Minnesota Judiciary: Judicial Decision Making - Grades 9-12 (PDF)

This lesson describes Minnesota’s different levels of courts differentiating them by structure, function, and decision making processes. The lesson includes a brief lecture/direct instruction component as well as a guided discussion activity. The direct instruction component is appropriate for any Civics course with a Judicial Branch unit focus. Due to its content, the lesson activity as written is most suitable for older high school students in Government or Civics classes.

Understanding the Minnesota Judiciary: Elections and Impartiality - Grades 9-12 (PDF)

Students will learn about judicial elections and impartiality through case studies on the exercise of First Amendment rights in judicial elections, limitations on corporate contributions, and procedures to protect impartiality. Strategies used include jigsaw of case studies and deliberation on proposed change to the Minnesota Constitution regarding judicial elections.

 

"Going to Court in Minnesota" Videos and Curriculum

“Going to Court in Minnesota,” a half-hour video designed to help immigrants, refugees, and others better understand the Minnesota court system and be prepared to go to court, is available here. It is provided in four languages: English, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish. Each video is subtitled in English. The program features judges, court employees, and community advocates explaining various aspects of the judicial process and cultural differences.  

 A curriculum, designed for use with the video by teachers in English Language Learner classes and produced in conjunction with the Minnesota Literacy Council, is available in PDF format here.

 

“Going to Court: Tips for Minnesotans who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing”

The Judicial Branch has created, “Going to Court: Tips for Minnesotans who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing,” a 20-minute video providing essential information to help ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to participate in cases in Minnesota state courts. The video is presented in American Sign Language and is captioned. The video is available here.

Courts of law can be confusing and intimidating for people unfamiliar with legal rules and practices. They can be especially so for people with particular communication needs. The new video will help those who are deaf or hard of hearing prepare for a court appearance, including what to expect and how to request communication assistance. 


Visit the Minnesota Judicial Branch's YouTube Channel for additional videos.

Minnesota Supreme Court Decisions - Highlights from 2013

Please note: Case summaries provided by Professor Peter Knapp, William Mitchell College of Law; reprinted with permission.

 Civil Cases:  Appellate Opinions:

Attorney Fees: Lemon Law

Green v. BMW of North Am., LLC, 826 N.W.2d 530 
Case #A11-0581
Chief Justice Gildea
Filed February 13, 2013

Case Summary (pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employment Law: Wage Deductions

Karl v. Uptown Drink, LLC, et al., 835 N.W.2d 14
Case #A12-0166
Chief Justice Gildea
Justices Wright and Lillehaug took no part
Filed August 14, 2013
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Criminal Cases:  Appellate Opinions:
 
Double Jeopardy
Interrogation: Scales Violation

State v. Castillo-Alvarez, 836 N.W.2d 527
Case #A11-1379
Chief Justice Gildea
Justice Page concurring, joined by Justice Stras
Justice Lillehaug took no part
Filed September 11, 2013
  
 

 

 

 

 Court of Appeals Opinion in Case #A11-1379

 

Expungement: Juvenile Records

In re J.J.P., 831 N.W.2d 260
Case #A11-1146
Justice Dietzen
Justice Paul Anderson concurring,
joined by Justice Page and by
Justice Wright with statement
Filed May 22, 2013



Case Summary (pdf)

 

 Supreme Court Opinion in Case #A11-1146 

 Court of Appeals Opinion in Case #A11-1146 

Lissa Finne
Court Information Office
Communications Specialist
(651) 297-5532 (phone)
(651) 297-5636 (fax)
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Minnesota Judicial Center (MJC)
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