Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

By: L. Nur, with additional reporting by Cirien Saadeh

There is only one candidate each in the races for the 3rd, 9th, 13th, and 15th seats of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, but it remains crucial to be informed and to vote. Check out some background on each of the incumbent candidates belows.

The only candidate for the 3rd seat in the Minnesota Court of Appeals is Carol Hooten.

Current: Judge, MN Court of Appeals (June 2012-Present)

Formerly: Judge, MN District Court 

Background: 

  • Elected in 2002 and 2008 as Scott County District Court Judge.
  • Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Mark Dayton in June 2012. 
  • Elected in 2014, current term expires Jan. 2021.  

Education:

  • J.D., William Mitchell College of Law, 1978
  • B.A.: Developmental Psychology, University of Minnesota, 1973

Employment:

  • Minnesota Court of Appeals (2012-present)
  • Minnesota District Court Judge, First Judicial District, Scott County (2003-12)
  • Attorney (01/1978–12/2002)

Focus areas: 

  • Family Law
  • Juvenile Justice

Select Current and Former Professional Associations:

  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Dakota County Bar Association
  • Minnesota District Judges Association
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Twin Cities Cardozo Society
  • Minnesota State Family Law Committee
  • Chair: Scott County Children’s Justice Initiative, and Juvenile Justice Coordinating Committee

Professional Committees:

  • Chair of the Family Law Appellate Mediation Program Committee
  • Minnesota State Bar Association: Court of Appeals Representative, and Judiciary Committee Member

Select community involvement:

  • Presenter, Minnesota Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Advanced Family Law Series: Why Some Cases Settle and Others Don’t (2019)
  • Presenter, Hennepin County Bar Association CLE: Family Court Appeals: What You Need to Know (2017)
  • Judge, various mock trial tournaments and moot court competitions affiliated with the University of Minnesota Law School, Hamline University and Macalester College (2014-18)
  • Former adjunct professor, William Mitchell College of Law, Legal Practicum (2013-15)
  • Annual speaker, Senior High Social Study Students, Discussing the Minnesota Judicial System and its relationship to other branches of government, Norwood Young America

The only candidate for the 9th seat on the Minnesota Court of Appeals is Randall Slieter.

Current: Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals (12/2018-PRESENT)

Former: Judge, MN District Court 

Background 

  • Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Mark Dayton on October 2018, began serving December 2018. Current term expires Jan. 2022. 
  • Appointed to  Eighth Judicial District Court on May 20, 1994, by Governor Arne Carlson. Elected in 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014. 

Employment:

  • Minnesota Court of Appeals (2018-Present)
  • Minnesota District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District, Renville County (1994-2018)
  • Adjunct Professor, varying courses and departments at Mitchell Hamline Law School and Minnesota State University, Mankato (2000-2015)
  • Attorney (1986-1994)

Education:

  • J.D., Hamline University School of Law, 1986
  • B.A., University of Minnesota, Political Science 1983

Professional Memberships:

  • Former President- Twelfth District Bar Association
  • Member- Minnesota District Judges Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association 

Focus Areas:

  • Civil, Criminal and Family Law
  • Juvenile Justice, Restorative Justice

Notable highlights:

  • Served on the three-judge State Court of Appeals panel that  ruled Minnesota’s law against revenge porn is unconstitutional and infringes on First Amendment rights, December 2019. 
  • reversed the decision of the DNR, holding that a name that had been in use more than 40 years could only be changed by the legislature.
  • Ruled in April 2019 that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did not have the authority to rename Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, referencing a state statute that says a name that had been in use for 40 years or more could only be changed by the legislature. Source Fox9
  • Served on a Restorative Justice Task Force formed/implemented by Renville County in 2018 to break cycles of youth violence. The program involves “juvenile offenders, their parents and volunteers from the community in restorative circles. These circles employ a traditional, Native American approach to justice aimed at healing, accountability and behavior change.” (Source: judgeslieter.com)

Professional Associations:

  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • 12th District Bar Association; past president
  • Minnesota District Judges Association; past member and board member
  • Minnesota District Court/Tribal Court Forum (2010-2018)
  • Criminal & Juvenile Justice Task Force (CrimNet Task Force) Judicial Representative (2004-2015)
  • Minnesota Supreme Court General Rules of Practice Committee; past member
  • Western Minnesota Legal Services; past member and president
  • MSBA: past volunteer attorney 
  • MSBA Mock Trial Program; past attorney coach and trial judge

Select Community Involvement:

  • Member- Kiwanis International 
  • Olivia Kiwanis Barbershop Quartet
  • RC Hospital Foundation Board Member (2008 – 2014)
  • Woodbury Chorus & Orchestra
  • Award for Outstanding Service to the Community – Minnesota District Judges Association, September 6, 2002.
  • Weekly “Hear It From The Judge” column in district newspapers 
  • Co-presenter for the Bully Program at Renville County schools 
  • Regular speaker to numerous community and civic groups 

The only candidate for the 13th seat on the Minnesota Court of Appeals is Jeanne Cochran.

Current: Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals (12/2018-PRESENT)

Former: Administrative Law Judge, Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (2012-18)

Background 

  • Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Mark Dayton in October 2018, by Governor Mark Dayton. 
  • Running for re-election. Current term expires Jan. 2021. 

Employment

  • Administrative Law Judge, Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings (2012-2018)
  • Assistant Attorney General, Minnesota Attorney General’s Office (2000-2012)
  • Legislative Analyst/Attorney, Minnesota House of Representatives, House Research Department (1998-2000)
  • Associate Attorney: Leonard, Street, and Deinard (1994 – 98)
  • Associate Attorney:  Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (1992-1994)

Education: 

  • J.D., University of Minnesota Law School 
  • B.A., Dartmouth College

Professional and Community Activities:

  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Administrative Law Externship Course (2015-2018)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association member; Public Utilities Section, past Chair and Executive Council member
  • YMCA Camp Widjiwagan Board of Directors, past member
  • Everybody Wins Minnesota, Reading Volunteer (2014-2016)
  • Moot court judge

The only candidate running for the 15th seat on the Minnesota Court of Appeals is Kevin G. Ross.

Current: Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals. Assumed office in Feb. 2006 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2014.

Former

Background: Before practicing law, Ross worked as a police officer for five years in Iowa City, Iowa. Has five adult children.

Employment: Formerly employed at the Minneapolis law firm of Greene Espel;l his work focused on “constitutional law, employment consultation and litigation, and general litigation.” In the 1990s, worked a “judicial clerkship in the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, for the Honorable Donald P. Lay in St. Paul.” Has written 900 opinions and 44 “concurring or dissenting opinions.”

Education: Received both his JD and his BA from the University of Iowa

Professional and Community Activities

  • “Formed and administers the Quill & Bagel Society, a periodic workshop for judges, law clerks, and staff attorneys committed to honing individual legal-writing skills and maintaining the quality of the court’s opinions.”
  • Board member of “Scribes: The American Society of Legal Writers.”
  • Member on the “Multistate Essay Examination Drafting Committee of the National Conference of Bar Examiners”
  • Formerly served as the judicial representative on the Minnesota Forensic Laboratory Advisory Board