In Minnesota, there are nearly 300 district court judges who preside over matters in ten judicial districts. While the Minnesota Rules of Court provide attorneys with significant information applicable to court proceedings, each judge may have his or her individual preferences with respect to motion practice and courtroom conduct.

In an effort to assist attorneys who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, the MSBA Civil Litigation Section Governing Council provided all district court judges with a brief survey. The responses that we received are organized on the right by judicial district and then alphabetically by judge’s name. We hope you find these responses to be helpful in your preparation for district court appearances.

For information about this project or to report an error in any judicial directory listing, contact Kara Haro, MSBA staff liaison to the Civil Litigation Section.

Eighth Judicial District Judges | Courtroom Preferences

Beckman, Stephanie

Chief Judge

Meeker County

View state court bio

Contact with Chambers 

• Preferred method to contact chambers: Email

• To whom may attorneys direct scheduling/logistical questions?  Law clerk

• To whom may attorneys direct substantive questions?  Law clerk


Motion Practice 

• Set forth your practices and procedures for scheduling motion hearings. If there is a Scheduling Order, contact the Law Clerk otherwise Court Administration.

• Identify any type of motion for which you do not require a hearing. You may request an informal meeting before filing a formal motion. Contact my Law Clerk.

• Do you accept telephone calls from attorneys to rule on discovery disputes that occur during depositions? Yes, if I am available.

• How much time do you allot for motion hearings? Usually 30 minutes unless more time is requested.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attending a hearing by telephone or video conference. Per the current chart, most hearings are presumed by video absent Exceptional Circumstances. If there is a request to appear in person, I will request input from all sides then make a decision on whether it should be in person or remote.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to discovery motions. Meet and confer—talk, not just email. Try to resolve it and show you made attempts to gain compliance before filing a motion.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to stipulations of the parties, including stipulations for protective orders. If not contested, may contact my Law Clerk to alert the stipulation/proposed Order and no hearing may be required.

• Do you have any particular requests or procedures relating to requests to amend the scheduling order? Usually, I review it and then either sign it or will amend the Court's Scheduling Order.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to default proceedings. The rules need to be followed so the proper filings and affidavits will be required before the Court will grant the motion.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling emergency motions. I always put on an emergency motion hearing within 14 days whether I grant the motion or not. Whether or not the other side was notice about the motion should be included in the filings to the Court.

• If your preferences for motion hearings by remote means differ from any of your earlier answers, please describe your preferences for remote video conference hearings. Video must be working for the attorneys not necessarily the clients.

• Do you want to receive paper courtesy copies of the parties' written submissions? If you do, set forth the number of courtesy copies and identify any document type you do not want to receive. I do not need paper courtesy copies.

• Set forth your preferences for handling informal requests for relief using the expedited, informal non-dispositive motion process set forth in Minn. Gen. R. practice 115.04(d). Email my Law Clerk for the request for an informal meeting (video conference). Please cite the reason with a brief explanation on why you seek the conference. After this, the request will be reviewed and if necessary, the informal conference scheduled quickly (usually within 1-2 weeks, usually a few days).

Pre-Trial Procedures 

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the submissions of additional legal authority or other materials at or after oral arguments. I have no practice but do allow the record to remain open to submit additional legal authority if it is requested.

• Describe your preferred procedures for pretrial settlement conferences, including the timing of such conferences, persons who must attend, whether persons may attend by telephone or video conference, and how you participate in settlement discussions. Settlement Conference- must be attended in person by all persons with settlement authority at the courthouse. No telephone appearances are granted absent exigent circumstances. I have allowed them but usually only after good cause. I participate fully with an update on case status, where the case is currently, why it is not settling, what may be helpful for the parties if the Court interjected, and how the Court can proceed to encourage the settlement.

• Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. We use MNDES and have the ability for video/photos and audio to be displayed during hearings and trials. PDF and Word are the preferred format for documents but, as to video/audio- Microsoft based is supported.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom and during trial. Pre-prepared and get into the courtroom to test the use and make certain it works, is compatible and the party is prepared for its use during trial.

• Do you permit parties to bifurcate oral argument so different attorneys address different legal issues? Yes if they explain in the pre-trial in chambers meeting who is addressing what issues including with witness questioning.

In-Person Trials 

• Are you willing to provide a date certain for trial? Yes after time has elapsed and the case may have been moved a few times otherwise, it is on a block. If the case has longer than a week for trial I will also consider it without lengthy time delay.

• Set forth your practices and procedures for handling motions in limine. Filed 5 days before being hearing (usually PreTrial Hearing). I will get out the order as soon as possible before the trial date even if the trial is bumped.

• What is your schedule for a typical trial day? Varies- I handle all types of cases so every day varies with case type. 

• Set forth your voir dire procedures. Preliminary Instructions are approved by the parties and reviewed by the Court. The Court asks the 1 set of questions then turned over to the attorneys. If a juror is excused for cause, the request is done at the bench if possible. If opposed, the record made at the bench.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to courtroom decorum, including movement in the courtroom, use of a podium, whether attorneys should sit or stand, and how to address witnesses. Attorneys can request the podium for opening statements and voir dire. They can move in the courtroom well freely during both of these times otherwise, they must ask permission from the Court to move from counsel table to a witness or for any other reason. Standing is not the culture in the 8 District so, during motion practice and trial attorney sit. Witnesses are by Mr./Ms. and last names. Children may be by 1 name. This can all be addressed in the pre-trial chambers discussions with the Court.

• Do you impose time limits with respect to opening statements and closing arguments? I do not but would consider it if the parties requested.

• Identify what technology you use in the courtroom and state whether you prefer a particular electronic format. I use Word. and Adobe. I have no preference.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney’s use of technology in the courtroom. I know that juries prefer the use of technology with witnesses and in closings from feedback. I prefer the use of it as well with witnesses and exhibit use.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to marking and using exhibits. Pre-marked. Plaintiffs are usually with 1, 2, 3, 4, and Defendants A, B, C, ....

• For exhibits uploaded to the Minnesota Digital Exhibit System (MNDES), set forth your preferences regarding naming conventions for files uploaded to the system. Same as those for premarked exhibits and titling can be as the party sees fit. I ask for a table of contents or Exhibit List.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to handling objections. Note objection, state grounds and no argument if in front of a jury. If not, then arguments can be made. I will rule. If the party wishes to make a more complete record with arguments, we wait until the next break or, approach the bench conference to do so.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to the use of deposition testimony. I do not have one set practice and am open to working with parties on this practice. It varies depending on case type.

• May attorneys obtain daily transcripts during trial? If so, what procedure should attorneys follow? They cannot obtain daily transcripts but they can ask my court reporter if she is able to provide it. Usually she is not.

• Set forth your practices and procedures with respect to attorney requests to contact jurors at the conclusion of trial. I will have a sign up sheet for jurors to sign up to be contacted and notify them jurors of their option. If they attorneys wish to do something other than this, they will need to do this on their own. I prefer they wait the appeal periods.

• Set forth any other preferences, practices, or procedures attorneys and parties may find helpful. In person, I allow beverages in travel mugs, closed containers, etc.... and the culture in the 8 District, allows attorneys to sit while arguing or while in trial. Last, several discussions occur in chambers to get "housekeeping" matters taken care of which can be helpful for everyone involved.