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Edward J. Cleary

Chief Judge

Appointed Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals on Sept. 18, 2013, and re-appointed on November 1, 2016 by Governor Mark Dayton. Current term expires Oct. 31, 2019.

Appointed Judge of the Court of Appeals on Dec. 29, 2011, by Governor Mark Dayton. Elected in 2014. Current term expires Jan. 2021.  

Appointed Judge of the Second Judicial District on Aug. 19, 2002. Elected in 2004 and 2010. 


J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, 1977

B.A., magna cum laude, University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), 1974


Director- Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility and Client Security Board, 1997-2002

Private Practice Attorney- Cleary Law Offices, 1980-1997

Assistant Public Defender- Ramsey County Public Defender's Office, 1980-1995

Associate- D.D. Wozniak, 1978-1980

Professional Associations:

Ramsey County Bar Association

Minnesota Bar Association

Minnesota District Judges Association

American Bar Association: Judicial Division

Council of Chief Judges of the State Courts of Appeal.

Professional Activities:

Member- MSBA (Minnesota State Bar Association) Governing Council, 2005-2010 

Member- MSBA Board of Governors, 2002-2005 

President- Ramsey County Bar Association 1998-1999 

Member- Ramsey County Bar Association Executive Council, 1993-1996 

Member- Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, 2006-2011 

Member- Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards, 1998, 2007-2008 

Member-State Canvassing Board, Coleman-Franken Senate Recount 2008-2009 Community Activities:

Member- PEN Center USA, 1995-Present 

Council Member, Minnesota News Council 1999-2002 

Commissioner- St. Paul Charter Commission, 1994-1996

Lecturing and Teaching Experience:

Adjunct Professor- University of Minnesota Law School, 2000-Present

Lecturer- Stanford, Northwestern, and Washington & Lee Law Schools, 1993-1994

Published Materials:

Judge Cleary authored, "Beyond the Burning Cross," a book on the First Amendment published by Random House in 1994 and by Vintage Books in 1995.


Minnesota State Bar Association, co-awarded the "President's Award" for work on the Task Force on the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct, 2003

Minnesota State Bar Association, "Graven Public Service Award" for the Minnesota Attorney who best exemplifies the highest standards of the profession in combination with a commitment to community and public service, 1998

Elected "Super Lawyer" by peers, 1996 and 1997

American Library Association, Awarded the "Oboler Memorial Award" for the best published work in the nation on intellectual freedom, 1996

Highest Rating as an Attorney (AV), Martindale Hubbell

Ramsey County Bar Association, “Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award” for humanitarian service to the bar and the community, and for outstanding professional performance  and achievement in service to the citizens of Ramsey County, 2015.

Edward J. Cleary Portrait
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