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Commission Members

Members of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection are listed below.

Chair Lee Sheehy

Sheehy is currently the Director of the Region and Communities Program at the McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation. Throughout his distinguished career, 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. Sheehy recently served as the Co-Chair of Governor Dayton’s Transition Team.

Education:
B.A. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

Jerry Blackwell, At-Large Member

Blackwell is a founder and Chairman of the Board of Blackwell Burke P.A. He serves as National Counsel for several major corporations and received the Distinguished Citizen Award from Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, the Equal Justice Award in 2006, and he was named Minnesota Attorney of the Year in 2005. In 2007 he became the first African American lawyer in Minnesota invited to join the American College of Trial Advocates.

Education:
B.S. University of North Carolina at 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 Vice President, University Planning and Advancement for Metropolitan State University. Jesse also serves as Executive Director for Metropolitan State University Foundation. In 2011, Jesse was accepted into the Doctorate of Business Administration Program at Metropolitan State University and has postponed commencing enrollment into the program at this time. He previously served as President of Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio (CLUES), a nationally recognized non-profit agency. Jesse has over 16 years of successful leadership as a Chief Executive Officer, has developed strategic plans, marketing plans and organizational development plans for non-profit organizations, foundations, an institution of higher learning and private corporations. Jesse has worked with nationally recognized organizations such as the American Red Cross and the United Way of the Greater Minneapolis Area. He served as a Senior Business Consultant to private companies with the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and led a Pre-collegiate Program to a national award of excellence from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools for INROADS. Jesse is a Board of Trustee Member with the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.

Education:
B.S. Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
M.A. Management and Administration, Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul, MN

Mary Al Balber, At-Large Member

Balber works as an Assistant General Counsel within the Office of General Counsel for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and serves as an associate judge with the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe. Previously, she 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. Balber also served as an appellate judge for the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court, and was a Qualified Neutral for civil and family matters. She is a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

Education:
B.S. Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI
J.D. Hamline University School of Law, Saint Paul, MN 

Randolph Kehr, At-Large Member

Kehr is the Executive Director of the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the Board of Directors for KSMQ Public Television and the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Center Bureau. Kehr spends much of his time participating in local projects with the United Way of Freeborn County, the National Vitality Center Board and the Albert Lea Lions Club.

Linda Krug At-Large Member

Krug is the Co-Director of the Masters in Advocacy and Political Leadership program. Previously, she served as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Krug has held a number of prestigious roles through the University serving as the Chair of the Women’s Studies department and President of the Faculty Union. She is also involved with the Association for Conflict Resolution, the League of Women Voters, and the Saint Luke’s Foundation.

Education:
B.A. Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, M.A. Miami University, Oxford, OH
PhD. Communication Studies, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

Tim O’Brien, At-Large Member

O’Brien currently serves as a partner at Faegre and Benson. He represents leading construction companies throughout the Midwest. O’Brien takes civic responsibility to heart by staying actively involved within the community. He serves as the Vice-Chair of the Hennepin County Ethics Committee, a trustee to the Hennepin County Law Library, and a volunteer attorney for the Minnesota Indian Women Resource Center.

Education:
B.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

William Sieben, At-Large Member

Sieben is currently 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. 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. Sieben’s presence within the community includes serving on the Regina Hospital Foundation and participation as a debate judge and youth hockey coach.

Education:
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

Smith serves as the Associate General Counsel at the University of Minnesota. She provides advice on student affairs, privacy and data practices while also practicing in litigation. Smith has also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota, and has clerked for Judge Max Rosenn, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Education:
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

Judy Henderson, First District Non-Attorney Member

Henderson is a consultant for intercultural development and an adjunct instructor in the Department of Education at the University of Minnesota. She serves as a member of the Education Advisory Board.  Henderson has begun a second term as a member of the Judicial Selection Commission. 

Charles Webber, First District Attorney Member

Webber is a trial lawyer and appellate specialist at Faegre and Benson LLP. He currently heads the firm's Business Litigation Group. Webber serves on the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure and is the Chair of the Appellate Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Education:
B.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
J.D. University of Chicago Law School, Chicago, IL

Nancy Platto, First District Attorney Member

Platto is a public defender for the First Judicial District. Previously, she worked as a prosecutor for Scott County and also practiced family law. Platto has served as President of the Eighth District Bar Association and as a member of the Carver County Justice Advisory Committee.

Education:
B.S. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
M.Ed University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, MN

Mary Stapleton, First District Non-Attorney Member

Stapleton is involved with the Chaska Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Commission. She has served on the Guardian ad Litem Board for the past 16 years and is a long-serving member of the Children’s Justice Initiative. Stapleton is also a member and past President of the Eastern Carver County League of Women Voters.

Patrick Kelly, Second District Attorney Member

Kelly is currently on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society and is a member of the American Bar Foundation. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in governmental law, employment and labor law, real estate law and litigation. In 2006 he was named Attorney of the Year. Previously, 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.

Education:
B.A. Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
J.D. Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, NE

Michael I. Dougherty, Second District Non-Attorney Member

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:
B.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
M.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
MBA University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

Molly Thornton, Second District Attorney Member

Thornton is an attorney at Cargill, Incorporated. Thornton also serves on the Minnesota Women Lawyers Board of Directors and is a 2011-12 co-chair of the Minnesota Federal Bar Association’s Communications Committee.  Prior to joining Cargill in 2011, Thornton was a shareholder at Briggs and Morgan, P.A., and a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson.

Education:
B.A. Business Management and Spanish, College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, MN
J.D. William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, MN

Yvonne Cheung Ho, Second District Non-Attorney Member

Cheung Ho is currently the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, where she works for the welfare of the minority business community. Cheung Ho previously worked at IBM as a systems engineer. She serves on the boards of the Great Neighborhood! Development Corporation, the Minneapolis Foundation and North Memorial Health Care.

Education:
B.S. Business Administration, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Linda Cruz-Lares, Third District Non-Attorney Member

Cruz-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 organization including Rotary, the Albert Lea Family Y, and the Freeborn County Collaborative.

Jane Belau, Third District Non-Attorney Member

Belau is 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.

James Forsythe, Third District Attorney Member

Forsythe is an attorney with the firm of Streater and Murphy in Winona.

Mark Walbran, Third District Attorney Member

Walbran is a partner at Walbran and Furness. He practices in the area of civil litigation, workers compensation, social security and municipal law. Walbran serves as the Owatonna City Attorney and has been named a past President of the Minnesota City Attorneys Association. He has also been a member of the Minnesota Trial Lawyers Association and the Federal Magistrate Selection Committee.

Education:
J.D. Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, NE

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, and to the Honorable D. D. Wozniak (1922-2005), and 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:
B.A. College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

David Adney, Fourth District Non-Attorney Member

Adney has been in public education for the past 35 years, most currently as the principal at Minnetonka High School. Mr. Adney is the president of the Minnetonka Principals Association and the Executive Director of the Lake Conference Principals’ Association. Dave presents locally, nationally and internationally several times a year on innovative educational programs and is an adjunct instructor for Saint Mary’s University in the areas of leadership, management and supervision.

Education:
B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN
M. Ed University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Principal and Superintendent Licensure, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN

Sondra Samuels, Fourth District Non-Attorney Member

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, Samuels provides leadership, vision, oversight and direction for the overall organization and collaborative strategies. Sondra 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
B.S. Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
M.B.A Clark-Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA

Martin Costello, Fourth District Attorney Member

Costello is a trial and appellate lawyer, at Hughes & Costello, specializing in labor, employment, and criminal law.  He has served as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and as Chair of the Supreme Court Criminal Justice Study Commission.  He is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota and William Mitchell Law Schools.

Education:
B.A. College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
M.A University of Wisconsin, Madison
J.D. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Ph.D. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Steven R. Sunde, Fifth District Attorney Member

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. Sunde serves as chair of the Sixth District Ethics Committee and as City Attorney for several small communities in southwestern Minnesota.

Education:
B.A. St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
J.D. Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Donna Holstine, Fifth District Non-Attorney Member

Donna Holstine is appointed as a non-attorney member for the Fifth Judicial District.  She is retired and has served on the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority, the Minnesota Safety Council, and the Fairmont City Council.  She also served as Mayor of the City of Fairmont and President of the Minnesota Mayors.

Margaret K. Erickson, Fifth District Attorney Member

Erickson is an attorney with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., helping low-income clients and clients over age 60 with civil legal problems including family law, housing, public benefits, and consumer matters. She is active in the Minnesota State Bar Association and has been an officer of the MSBA's Family Law Section and a member of the MSBA Council and Assembly.  She has also served on several nonprofit boards based in southwest Minnesota. 

Education:
B. A. Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, MN
J. D. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Richard W. Davenport, Fifth District Non-Attorney Member

Davenport is the current President of Minnesota State University, Mankato. He began his career at Iowa State University, and then served as the Vice President and Provost at Central Michigan University. Davenport is involved with many boards and committees such as the Greater Mankato Area Growth Board, and the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Center for Rural Policy Development.

Education:
B.A. University of Nebraska, Kearney, NE
M.S. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Ph.D. Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Post Doctorate, AASCU Institute for New Presidents, Harvard Institute for Educational Management, Cambridge, MA

H. Jeffery Peterson,  Sixth-District Attorney Member

Peterson is currently a partner and trial lawyer at Cope & Peterson, Ltd. He also serves on the State Committee at the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is the national president of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys and was a past president of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Education:
B.A. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA               
J.D. University of North Dakota Law School, Grand Forks, ND

Inez Wildwood, Sixth District Non-Attorney Member

Wildwood is a manager of talent acquisition and development at Allete in Duluth.

Sharon N. Chadwick, Sixth District Attorney Member

Chadwick currently serves as a Senior Assistant St. Louis County Attorney. She previously worked as an Assistant Public Defender and Private Practitioner. Chadwick also served as a supervisor for the North St. Louis County Soil and Water Conservation District and as a member of the Executive Board of AFSCME Local 3761.

Nevada R. Littlewolf, Sixth District Non-Attorney Member

Littlewolf works as The White House Project's Rural Leadership Organizer. She serves on the Virginia City Council and is on the Board of Trustees for The Northland Foundation.  Littlewolf is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Additionally, she works as a children’s advocate for St. Louis County Courts with the Guardian ad Litem Program, working primarily with American Indian families. 

Education:
A.A. Mesabi Community  and Technical College, Virginia, MN
Attended the University of Minnesota Duluth, studying Studio Art and Art Education, Duluth, MN

Sheila Korby,  Seventh District Non-Attorney Member

Korby is currently the Executive for Someplace Safe in Otter Tail, Wilkin, Traverse, and Big Stone Counties. She previously served as Program Manager of Outreach and Intervention for Someplace Safe. Korby also worked as the Criminal Justice Intervention Advocate in Otter Tail County. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota. She provides training for professional groups and community members about domestic violence related topics.

Education:
B.A. Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, MN

Robert Feigh,  Seventh District Attorney Member

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:
B.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
M.A. State University of New York, NY
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

Stephen F. Rufer, Seventh District Attorney Member

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: 
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

Jane M. Olsen, Seventh District Non-Attorney Member

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 where she occasionally teaches in the Division of General Studies, Honors Program and in the Department of Human Relations and Multicultural Education. Olsen is a member of the National Women’s Studies Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium.

Greg Holmstron, Eighth District Attorney Member

Holmstrom is currently the City Attorney for the City of Granite Falls He also serves as a part-time public defender for the State of Minnesota, as well as Chairman of the Yellow Medicine East School District. Previously, he served as a Supreme Court appointee to the Judicial Selection Committee for the Eighth District under Governor Pawlenty’s second term. Holmstrom formerly served as President for the Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce and Granite Falls Kiwanis.

Education:
B.A. Hamline University, St. Paul, MN                
J.D. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Sandra Olson-Loy, Eighth District Non-Attorney Member

Sandy Olson-Loy is Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Minnesota Morris.  Sandy has worked to expand the college's many community partnerships, particularly those centered in local foods, healthy eating and wellness.  Sandy recently completed terms on the boards of the Land Stewardship Project and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

Education:
B.S. Student Personnel Services Individualized Major, Minnesota State University, Moorhead. M.A. Public Policy and Administration, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

John Lindstrom, Eighth District Attorney Member

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. Lindstrom currently works as a mediator/arbitrator with Gilbert Mediation Service.   

Education:
B.A. St. John's University, Collegeville, MN
J.D. University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN              

Paula O’Loughlin, Eighth District Non-Attorney Member

O’Loughlin is a Political Science professor at the University of Minnesota Morris and is Director of the Academic Center for Enrichment. She is the current Chair of the University Senate Judiciary Committee. O’Loughlin was the University of Minnesota’s 2007 nominee for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CASE) National Professor of the Year Award.

Susan Mills, Ninth District Non-Attorney Member

Mills is the Executive Director of Tri County Community Corrections for Norman, Polk and Red Lake Counties.  She has served as president of the Minnesota Association Community Corrections Counties and is a Director on the Northwest Council of Collaboratives’ Governing Board.

Education:
B. A. Mankato State University, Mankato, MN

Roger Malm, Ninth District Attorney Member

Malm currently serves as the Kittson County Attorney and also practices law with the Brink, Sobolik Law Firm. He focuses on the areas of Probate, estate, trust administration and planning, business and real property law, criminal prosecution, corporate law and guardianships/ conservatorships. Malm has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Minnesota.

Education:
B.A. St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
J.D. University of North Dakota School of Law, Grand Forks, ND

Larke L. Huntley, Ninth District Attorney Member

Huntley currently practices law as a sole practitioner and focuses on matters relating to real estate transfers and financing, estate planning and probate administration and elder law issues.  Huntley has served as a member of the Real Property Council of the Real Property Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association including a one year term as President of the Council.

Education:
B. A. University of Minnesota,  Minneapolis, MN
J. D.  University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN

Shawn M. Mason, Ninth District Non-Attorney Member

Mason is the current mayor of International Falls and also works as an Educational Support Specialist in the International Falls School system. She has served as the Executive Director of the International Falls Chamber of Commerce and was a past President to the Minnesota Arrowhead Association.

Robin M. Wolpert, Tenth District Attorney Member

Wolpert is currently Senior Counsel for Business Conduct and Compliance at 3M. She was formerly a partner at Greene Espel, P.L.L.P where she handled matters relating to constitutional law, municipal defense and government liability, appellate practice and housing law. Wolpert is also an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law and has taught courses at the University of South Carolina and Georgetown University. She is Vice-Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section Council.

Education:
B.A. Colby College, Waterville, ME
PhD., M.A. University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
J.D. Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY

Jermaine Ross, Tenth District Non-Attorney Member

Ross is a former teacher and assistant pastor. He is currently a student at United Theological Seminary and a ministerial candidate for the Presbyterian Church USA.

Robert M.A. Johnson, Tenth District Attorney Member

Johnson began work as a prosecutor in 1968 and was elected Anoka County Attorney from 1983 through 2010.  He is past-president of the National District Attorneys Association, the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the Anoka County Bar Association, and served as chair of the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force.  He is past chair of the American Bar Association – Criminal Justice Section.  He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Minnesota State Bar Association and of the Board on Judicial Standards.  He served in the Minnesota National Guard from 1968 to 2003.

Judy C. Duffy, Tenth District Non-Attorney Member

Duffy is a director of the League of Women Voters of the US Board where she serves as the first Vice President and Director of Advocacy for the board. She is a former deputy mayor and city council member for the City of Birchwood Village. Duffy also 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.