I am currently a district court judge in Minnesota’s First Judicial District, which covers Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott, and Sibley Counties. It has been the greatest honor of my life to be a judge in the place my wife and I have lived and raised a family for more than 30 years.
I grew up here in the Twin Cities and went to college at the University of Minnesota, graduating with high honors and a degree in political science. Then I went to the University of Chicago Law School, served on Law Review, and graduated with honors. After graduation, I served as law clerk for a judge on a federal court of appeals.
On the last day of my junior year in college I met the woman of my dreams in a “love-at-first-sight” moment on campus. She’s from Austin, Minnesota (home of Spam®). We got married two years later and have been married for 34 years. We lived in Chicago for three years while I finished law school and my clerkship, but we knew that Minnesota was the place to raise a family. We came home to the Twin Cities, settled in Burnsville, then moved to Lakeville. We were blessed with two sons, Daniel (29) and Michael (27), who have become solid young men whom we’re very proud of.
I worked for a law firm in downtown Minneapolis (Faegre & Benson, now called Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath) for nearly 30 years. I represented both plaintiffs and defendants in civil litigation, including many clients free of charge to give back to the community. I have been honored by my colleagues in all four of the major national associations of trial lawyers: the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. I was also listed in The Best Lawyers in America in four different litigation categories and was selected as a Minnesota Super Lawyers by my peers every year from 2007 on.
After an extensive screening and interview process, I was appointed as a judge in the First District. Since that time, I have handled all types of cases—criminal cases ranging from minor traffic matters to major felonies, family cases, child-protection cases, personal-injury cases, contract disputes, and the many other cases that a district court judge handles.
Every case that I handle is the most important case in the world to the people involved in it. If it were my life, my freedom, or my family on the line, I would want a judge with experience who would be respectful to me, listen to me, consider all of the evidence, and make a fair decision based on the law. I try my best to follow the Golden Rule and be the kind of judge who I would want to have decide the most important case in my own life.
The folks who come before me are individuals. Something very unfair may have happened to them. They may be scared or hurt or angry when they come into the courtroom. I care about the people who are in the courtroom and about what happens to them. This makes me work very hard—nights and weekends included—because I know how much my decisions will matter to people—both the people involved in the cases and the people in this area that I call home. I want everyone to feel heard and understood. I want my decisions to be just, and to follow the law.
When I’m not working at being a judge, I donate my time and energy to charitable organizations, including Agate Housing and Services, which is a non-profit devoted to ending homelessness and relieving hunger in Minneapolis, and St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville, where I serve as a worship-team leader and lay reader. I’m also a bad golfer, but I do it because I love being outdoors during our short Minnesota summers.
I love being a judge and would love to continue serving my fellow citizens of the First Judicial District and the State of Minnesota. I thank you very sincerely for your vote and promise that I will never stop working to earn it.