Members of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection are listed below.
Chair Lee Sheehy
Mr. Sheehy is currently the Director of the Region and Communities Program at the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation. Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Sheehy has served as Chief Deputy to Minnesota Attorney General Humphrey, Regional Administrator of the Metropolitan Council, Director of the City of Minneapolis Department of Community Planning and Economic Development, and Chief of Staff to Senator Amy Klobuchar.
B.A. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN
Mary Al Balber, At-Large Member
Ms. Balber works as an Assistant General Counsel for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, where she provides legal advice and guidance to 31 public institutions. She also serves as an associate judge with the Grand Portage Band of Ojibew, and is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. She has previously served as the Assistant City Attorney for Minneapolis, Solicitor General for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, and as staff attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services in Saint Paul.
B.S. Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
J.D. Hamline University School of Law, Saint Paul, MN
Jerry Blackwell, At-Large Member
Mr. Blackwell is the founding partner, CEO, and Chairman of Blackwell Burke PA, where he serves as national and trial counsel for several major corporations. He is a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, and has been named a Minnesota Litigation Star, a BTI Client Service MVP, and a BTI Client Service All-Star. Mr. Blackwell was the 2014 recipient of the National Bar Association’s Cora T. Walker Award for leadership, and his firm was named the 2014 “Business of the Year” by the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce.
B.S. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
J.D. University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, NC
Jesse Bethke Gomez, At-Large Member
Jesse Bethke Gomez is Executive Director for Metropolitan Center for Independent Living, a metro-based non-profit organization founded in 1981 and dedicated to the full promotion of the Independent Living (IL) philosophy by supporting individuals with disabilities in their personal efforts to pursue self-directed lives. He previously served as Vice President of University Planning and Advancement for Metropolitan State University and 16 years as President of CLUES. He holds a Master’s of Management and Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is a graduate of the Minnesota Executive Program for Advanced Strategic Leadership from the Carlson School of Management of the University of Minnesota and a National Kellogg Fellow from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. In 2008, he was named to Minnesota Physician Publishing’s 100 Influential Health Care Leaders in Minnesota and is Minnesota’s first recipient of the Reconocimiento Ohtli recognition by the Institute of the Exterior of the Country of Mexico.
Randy Kehr, At-Large Member
Mr. Kehr is the Executive Director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for KSMQ Public Television and the Co-Chair of the National Vitality Center Board of Directors. In addition, he is a board member of the Greater Minnesota Partnership. Mr. Kehr is a former member of the City of Albert Lea’s Charter Commission, and is an Ex-Officio member of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Board and the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Linda Krug, At-Large Member
Ms. Krug is the CEO of Krug Consulting and Mediation. Previously, she served as the Co-Director of the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership Program at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She has held a number of prestigious roles through the University, serving as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and President of the Faculty Union. She is also an at-large member of the Duluth City Council, a Director of Park State Bank, and a board member of the St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation.
B.A. Miami University, Oxford, OH
M.A. Miami University, Oxford, OH
PhD. University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Tim O’Brien, At-Large Member
Mr. O’Brien currently serves as an arbitrator of commercial disputes, after retiring last year as a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels. His most involved community commitment is serving as a member of the Board of Directors of ARC Greater Twin Cities. Mr. O’Brien also donates his time as a Trustee of the Hennepin County Law Library and a member of the Edina Heritage Preservation Board.
B.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN
William Sieben, At-Large Member
Mr. Sieben is a partner at Schwebel Goetz and Sieben. He has served the state through many prominent cases, such as the record-setting class action lawsuit Braun v. Walmart. Mr. Sieben’s many legal accomplishments have led him to be elected President of the Minnesota Association for Justice, as well as President of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Mr. Sieben’s presence within the community includes serving on the Regina Hospital Foundation and participating as a debate judge and youth hockey coach.
B.A. Saint Cloud State University, Saint Cloud, MN
J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, MN
Tracy M. Smith, At-Large Member
Ms. Smith serves as the Deputy General Counsel at the University of Minnesota, where she supervises litigation on behalf of the University and provides advice on employment, student affairs, privacy and data practice. Ms. Smith previously served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota and clerked for the Honorable Max Rosenn, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
B.A. Georgetown University, Washington, DC
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN
Christy Jo Fogarty, First District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Fogarty has been a licensed dental hygienist for 15 years and was the first advanced dental therapist in the country. She currently works for Children’s Dental Services in Minneapolis, a non-profit dental clinic that has served children under the age of 21 and pregnant women for nearly 100 years. She is the immediate past President of the Minnesota Dental Therapy Association and President of the American Academy of Dental Therapy. Ms. Fogarty has served three terms as a member of the Farmington City Council from 2002-2014, and is a Governor’s appointee on the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
B.S. Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN
M.S. Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN
Nancy Platto, First District Attorney Member
Ms. Platto is a public defender for the First Judicial District. Previously, she worked as a prosecutor for Scott County and practiced family law. Ms. Platto has served as President of the Eighth District Bar Association and as a member of the Carver County Justice Advisory Committee.
Mary Stapleton, First District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Stapleton has served as a Guardian ad Litem in the First Judicial District for the past 21 years and is a long-serving member of the Children’s Justice Initiative. She is involved with the Chaska Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Commission and was previously on the Chaska Planning Commission. Ms. Stapleton is also a member and past President of the Eastern Carver County League of Women Votes.
Charles Webber, First District Attorney Member
Mr. Webber is a trial lawyer and appellate specialist at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. He is co-leader of the firm’s Conciliation Court Clinic Project and is involved in the firm’s Conciliation Court Appeals Clinic. Mr. Webber serves on the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, the Federal Practice Committee, and is the past Chair of the Appellate Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.Education:
Michael Dougherty, Second District Non-Attorney Member
Mr. Dougherty serves as Vice-Chancellor with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Previously, he was Vice President of Communications for The Valspar Corporation with responsibility for the company’s internal and external communications and public affairs. He served as President of The Valspar Foundation and is a Vice President and Board member of the Minnesota Safety Council.Education:
Patrick Kelly, Second District Attorney Member
Mr. Kelly is Senior Partner and founder of Kelly and Lemmons, PA. He is nationally recognized for his litigation knowledge and advice in governmental law, employment and labor law, and real estate law. In 2007, he was named Attorney of the Year. Previously, Mr. Kelly has served as President of the Minnesota State Bar Association, Ramsey County Bar Association and was Chair of the Second Judicial District Ethics Committee. He currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society and is the city attorney to a number of cities in the state of Minnesota.Education:
Tiffany Orth, Second District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Orth works as a Project Coordinator for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public entity charged with planning and designing the new Vikings stadium. In her role, she coordinates various special projects amongst stadium partners and assists the Chair and board members. Previously, she served as the Appointments Coordinator in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton, and prior to that, worked in fundraising for various political campaigns. Ms. Orth serves as a member of the Second Judicial District Ethics Committee and as Treasurer for the Kids Voting Minneapolis Board.
Molly Thornton, Second District Attorney Member
Ms. Thornton is a senior attorney at Cargill, Incorporated. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Prior to joining Cargill in 2011, Ms. Thornton was a shareholder at Briggs and Morgan, PA, and a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson.Education:
Jane Belau, Third District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Belau was formerly a vice president at Control Data and a consultant for the Ceridian Corporation. She is President of the University of Minnesota Regent Candidate Advisory Council and a member of the Rochester City Charter Commission.
William Hoversten, Third District Attorney Member
Mr. Hoversten is a founding shareholder of Patton, Hoversten & Berg, PA, a general practice law firm with offices in Owatonna, Waseca, Faribault, and Janesville, MN. His current practice focuses on estate and business planning, estate and trust administration, and civil litigation. Over the past 40 years, he has served two terms as chairman of the District Ethics Committee, a member of the MSBA Board of Governors, President of the local and district bar associations, as well as local service clubs and community organizations. He has served for more than 20 years as the attorney for Waseca Public Schools and the Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive Center and also serves as the Waseca County Examiner of Titles.Education:
Linda Lares, Third District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Lares is a native of Albert Lea, employed at Semcac Community Action Agency. Linda is the Cultural Diversity Specialist at Semcac. She has 30 years of experience in the Human Services field and 15 years’ experience as a court/community interpreter in Spanish/English. Linda is involved with a number of community organizations including the Rotary, the Albert Lea Family Y, and the Freeborn County Collaborative.
Mark Walbran, Third District Attorney Member
Mr. Walbran is a partner at Walbran and Furness in Owatonna. His practice areas include civil litigation, workers’ compensation, and municipal law. He also serves as Owatonna City Attorney and is the past President of the Minnesota City Attorneys Association. He has also been a member of the Federal Magistrate Selection Committee.Education:
Martin Costello, Fourth District Attorney Member
Mr. Costello is a trial and appellate lawyer in solo private practice, specializing in labor, employment and criminal law. He is a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedures, was an NIJ Fellow at the University of Minnesota Law School, and served as Chair of the Supreme Court Criminal Justice Study Commission. He is a MSBA Certified Labor & Employment Law and Criminal Law Specialist. He is the author of Minnesota Misdemeanors and is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and William Mitchell Law Schools.Education:
Mary Knoblauch, Fourth District Attorney Member
Ms. Knoblauch is a shareholder of Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie P.A., a business litigation law firm where Ms. Knoblauch has been practicing law since 1987. Ms. Knoblauch appears in state and federal courts, as well as in administrative agencies, and a significant portion of her practice has been focused on labor and employment disputes. Ms. Knoblauch began her legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Daniel M. Kammeyer, Minnesota Tenth Judicial District, to the Honorable D. D. Wozniak (1922-2005), and to the Honorable Doris Ohlsen Huspeni, Minnesota Court of Appeals. She is a board member and former chair of The Fund for the Legal Aid Society and a member and former chapter president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.Education:
Lawrence Redmond, Fourth District Non-Attorney Member
Mr. Redmond is the founder and President of Redmond Associates, Inc., a governmental affairs consulting affairs firm begun in 1977. Prior to the formation of his company, Mr. Redmond worked in a variety of governmental and political capacities, including as a political aide to the late Senator and Vice President of the United States Hubert H. Humphrey. Mr. Redmond is a former member and Chair of the Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards and in 1993 was an appointee of the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court to the Advisory Committee to Review the American Bar Association Model of Judicial Conduct. In the area of public health he was one of the original court-appointed trustees of ClearWay Minnesota. In 2002 he was awarded the “Sally Ordway Irvine Award For Artistic Commitment in recognition of his lifetime achievement and leadership in the arts and culture”.Education:
Sondra Samuels, Fourth District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Samuels is the CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone. The mission of NAZ is to create a culture of achievement in a geographic zone of North Minneapolis where all children graduate high school college-ready. As CEO, Ms. Samuels provides leadership, vision, oversight and direction for the overall organization and collaborative strategies. Ms. Samuels serves on the boards of Catalyst Community Partners and MinnCAN (Minnesota’s Campaign for Achievement Now), the first statewide Education Policy advocacy group in MN. She is also a member of the African American Leadership Forum’s Education Committee and the Northside Policy Action Coalition.Education
James Hepworth, Fifth District Non-Attorney Member
N. Doran Hunter, Fifth District Non-Attorney Member
Mr. Hunter is a Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Minnesota State University, Mankato and is currently a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. His government service has included positions with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Government Affairs Institute, Executive Personnel and Management Development, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the Justice System Improvement Study, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Hunter has also served on a number of commissions and is currently a board member and research fellow with the Caux Round Table, and international network of business and government leaders promoting ethical leadership.Education:
Lynn Johnson, Fifth District Attorney Member
Ms. Johnson is the owner and attorney at the Lynn A. Johnson Law Office, where she practices in family law, business law, probate and estate planning, and real estate. She has also served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Fifth Judicial District. She is a past President and Vice President of the 13th District Bar Association and is a former member of the Murray County Medical Center Board. Additionally, Ms. Johnson has served as the President of the Chamber of Commerce and as a board member for the Murray County DAC and the Lake Shetek Regional Clinic.Education:
Steven Sunde, Fifth District Attorney Member
Mr. Sunde is a partner at the Sunde, Olson, Kircher and Zender firm where he primarily practices in civil litigation and municipal law. He is also certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association. Mr. Sunde serves as chair of the Sixth District Ethics Committee and as City Attorney for several small communities in southwestern Minnesota.Education:
Fred Friedman, Sixth District Attorney Member
Daniel Lew, Sixth District Attorney Member
Mr. Lew is the Chief Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District, where he oversees a team of 30 lawyers and 10 professional staff who provide public defense in the judicial district. Previously, he was the managing attorney for the Sixth Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, and prior to that, was an Assistant Public Defender in Duluth and St. Paul. He is a past President of the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association and a former at-large member of the Commission on Judicial Selection.Education:
Nevada Littlewolf, Sixth District Non-Attorney Member
A member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Ms. Littlewolf has over 20 years of experience working across sectors of government, community, non-profit, and business. Recently re-elected to her third term, she is an experienced Iron Range leader of the Virginia, MN City Council. She is the founder and Director of RAIL, a non-profit leadership organization for rural and American Indigenous women. She serves on the Northland Foundation’s Board of Trustees and has worked with Wellstone Action, The White House Project, and the Guardian ad Litem Program. She studied Studio Art and Education at the Mesabi Range College and the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Inez Wildwood, Sixth District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Wildwood is currently the Executive Vice President with Comprehensive Management Associates. Prior to joining CMA, she led Talen Acquisition, Learning and Organizational Development for ALLETE, Inc. Ms. Wildwood has previously served as Chair of the Minnesota Governor’s Workforce Development Council, Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Board, and member of the Board Chairs’ Executive Committee for the National Governors’ Association.Education:
Robert Feigh, Seventh District Attorney Member
Mr. Feigh is currently a principal at Gray, Plant & Mooty. He has over 30 years of experience in jury trials. Previously, he served as an officer in the United States Navy. In 2009, Feigh received the Seventh Judicial District Pro Bono Award. He has a deep commitment to serving the community though both professional and community activities.Education:
Sheila Korby, Seventh District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Korby currently is the Executive Director for Someplace Safe, a crime victims service provider for 9 counties in West Central Minnesota. She previously served as Director of Program Services for Someplace Safe and as the Criminal Justice Intervention Advocate in Otter Tail County. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, and has provided training for professional groups and community members about crime and violence related topics.Education:
Jane Olsen, Seventh District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Olsen is the founding Director of the St. Cloud State University Women’s Center. She is also an adjunct faculty member at St. Cloud State University. Ms. Olsen is a member of the National Women’s Studies Association and Women’s Center Committee and serves on the Governance Committee of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium.Education:
Stephen Rufer, Seventh District Attorney Member
Mr. Rufer is a partner with Pemberton, Sorlie, Rufer & Kershner, where he practices primarily in civil litigation. He is a past Chair of the Civil Litigation Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and has served on the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association Board of Governors.Education:
Michael Boyle, Eighth District Non-Attorney Member
Mr. Boyle resides in Litchfield, MN and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Meeker Memorial Hospital Foundation. He has 40 years of experience in the non-profit health care world – thirty years dedicated to senior services and the last ten to the hospital. He also serves on the senior management team at Meeker Memorial Hospital, and is a Lifetime Honorary member of Leading Age-Minnesota, which serves the non-profit senior services industry. Mr. Boyle has been active in his community and currently serves on the Litchfield City Council, the Meeker Yellow Ribbon Committee, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vaccker Place, and Cokato/Dassel Rotary.Education:
Sarah Klaassen, Eighth District Attorney Member
Ms. Klaassen joined Anderson Larson Hanson & Saunders in 2007 and became a partner at the firm in 2012. Her practice areas are primarily family law and workers’ compensation, although she handles a wide variety of cases for clients. She is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the 12th District Bar Association. Ms. Klaassen currently serves on the boards of the United Way of West Central Minnesota and the Willmar Area Community Foundation.Education:
John Lindstrom, Eighth District Attorney Member
Judge Lindstrom served as a District Court Judge for 29 years. He was in private law practice for 10 years and served as a State Representative from 1973-1976. Judge Lindstrom currently works as a mediator/arbitrator with Gilbert Mediation Service.Education:
Robert Enger, Ninth District Attorney Member
Mr. Enger is currently the Supervising Attorney for the Bemidji Office of Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, where he has been an advocate as a staff attorney and the supervising attorney for over 20 years. His practice includes work in the civil realm as well as considerable experience in all areas of family law, landlord tenant law, public and subsidized housing, consumer law and public benefits. He was the President of the Minnesota State Bar Association in 2012-2013, and is currently a Minnesota Delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.Education:
Lenny Fineday, Ninth District Attorney Member
Robert Sjoberg, Ninth District Non-Attorney Member
Mr. Sjoberg is the President and CEO of Sjoberg’s Inc., a telecommunications company that has served the northwestern portion of Minnesota since 1962. He currently is on the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s Board of Directors, the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation (US Representative and VP), and the Hartz Foundation (President). He is also the Chairman of the Thief River Falls, MN Planning Commission, is a Rotarian, and was recently named as a Cable Television Pioneer.Education:
Rev. Jermaine Ross Allam, Tenth District Non-Attorney Member
Rev. Ross Allam is an associate pastor at Kwanzaa Community Church in North Minneapolis. He graduated from United Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity, and shortly thereafter, was ordained by the Presbyterian Church USA. Additionally, he works for United Theological Seminary, and was previously a teacher and assistant pastor.
Judy Duffy, Tenth District Non-Attorney Member
Ms. Duffy recently retired as a director of the League of Women Voters of the US Board, where she also served as the first Vice President and Director of Advocacy for the board. Additionally, Ms. Duffy served as President of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota and was a deputy mayor and city council member for the City of Birchwood Village. She has served as a member of the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee to review the code of Judicial Conduct and Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards.
Robert M.A. Johnson, Tenth District Attorney Member
Mr. Johnson began working as a prosecutor in 1968 and was elected Anoka County Attorney from 1983 through 2010. He is a past President of the National District Attorneys Association, the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and the Anoka County Bar Association. Mr. Johnson is the past chair of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force and the American Bar Association – Criminal Justice Section. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Board on Judicial Standards. He also served in the Minnesota National Guard from 1968-2003.
Robin Wolpert, Tenth District Attorney Member
Ms. Wolpert is an Assistant County Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Office of the Washington County Attorney. She previously served as Senior Counsel for Compliance & Business Conduct at 3M. She spent most of her career as a partner at Greene Espel, PLLP, where she practiced in the fields of constitutional law, municipal defense and government liability, white collar criminal defense, and appellate practice. She was also an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law. She is Treasurer of the Minnesota State Bar Association, a member of the executive committee of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, and Chair of the Board of the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society. She previously chaired the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section Council.Education: