Third Judicial District

Map of Minnesota with Third Judicial District counties highlighted

Effective July 1, 1959, the Minnesota Judicial Branch was divided into 10 judicial districts for administrative purposes, per Minn. Stat. 2.722.  Each district is made up of two to 17 counties, with the exception of the Second District (Ramsey County) and the Fourth District (Hennepin County).  Each district is managed by a chief judge and an assistant chief judge, assisted by a district administrator.

The Third Judicial District consists of the eleven counties of Southeast Minnesota including Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, and Winona. Twenty-four judges and one referee serve the District.

Chief Judge

 Honorable Jodi L Williamson

Honorable Jodi L. Williamson
Dodge County

Assistant Chief Judge

Honorable Joseph A. Bueltel
Steele County

Judicial District Administrator

Shelley Ellefson

History of Program

The Third Judicial District has been working on a process to assist not only the courts but more importantly the families going through this difficult process. This project is consistent with plans by the Minnesota Court system to assist parties in the family court system. Priorities & Strategies for Minnesota's Judicial Branch sets forth three long-term, enduring goals for the court system:  (1) Access to Justice; (2) Administering Justice for Effective Results; and (3) Public Trust, Accountability and Impartiality.

In recent years, new strategies have been tested and have shown promise in achieving more effective outcomes for court participants who continually come back into the justice system because underlying substance abuse, mental health, or other psychosocial problems have not been addressed.  These approaches stress a collaborative, multidisciplinary problem solving approach for addressing the underlying problems as well as the legal issues that bring these individuals into court in the first place.

Judicial approaches that target the early resolution of cases involving families and children are more likely to produce effective case outcomes and a strategic focus for the judicial branch.

Family Early Case Management (ECM) is an emerging model for processing marital dissolution cases more effectively and efficiently, especially in cases involving disputed issues such as custody and parenting time.  It involves mroe actice and aggressive judicial management early in the case to help facilitate early settlement of disputed issues. The early intervention includes an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC), facilitated by the judge.

An additional component of this model is the use of Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) to settle disputed issues early in the dissolution case, as an alternative to the expensive and time-consuming process of conducting custody evaluations.  ENE is a short-term, confidential, evaluative process using a male and female team of experienced custody evaluators to facilitate prompt dispute resolution in custody and parenting time matters.

The benefits of using these approaches in family cases involving children are significant and include:
  • reduced cost and acrimony among the parties
  • earlier resolution and certainty for the children
  • increased settlement rates
  • reduced time from filing to judgment
  • fewer number of appeals and post judgment motions to modify decrees
  • reduced need for full custody evaluations and custody trials
County Court CalendarsCourt calendars reflect scheduled courtroom hearings, but they do not include all matters handled by the court each day.
Confidential cases and cases that are not remotely accessible under Minn. R. Pub. Access 8, subd. 2 are not posted in this calendar. If your case does not appear on the calendar, do not assume that your court appearance has been cancelled or rescheduled.
The calendar is in searchable PDF format. You can use your computer or mobile device to find your name or the name of an attorney.

Dodge County
Fillmore County
Freeborn County
Houston County
Mower County
Olmsted County
Rice County
Steele County
Wabasha County
Waseca County
Winona County

Please note:
  • The Freeborn, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, and Winona calendars are posted at 7:00 p.m. for the next day activities, and all county calendars are updated hourly beginning at 7:00 a.m.
  • Calendar hearings are subject to change as there are often changes in scheduled cases, judge assignments, and courtroom assignments.
  • Printed calendars located outside the courtrooms or in public lobbies contain the most current daily calendar information.
  • If you have any questions about the calendar, please contact the local court administrator’s office.
  • Information in the calendar is subject to the MN Rules of Public Access»

Third Judicial District (District Administration)

(For case specific questions, please call your individual county)
1696 Greenview Drive SW
Rochester, MN 55902
Phone:  (507) 206-2300
Fax: (507) 285-7476