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Judge Edward J. Cleary Appointed Chief Judge on Minnesota Court of Appeals

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of Judge Edward J. Cleary to serve as the new Chief Judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Judge Cleary will replace the Honorable Matthew Johnson, who announced last week that he would not seek reappointment as Chief Judge when his term ends on October 31, 2013.


Judge Cleary at the podium, with his wife in the background.

“Judge Cleary has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service throughout his career and to justice as a member of the judiciary,” said Governor Dayton. “His experiences as an attorney, District Court Judge, and Appellate Court Judge have prepared him well to lead the Court of Appeals.  He also received the highest possible recommendations from attorneys, who have appeared before him, and from colleagues, who have worked with him.

I want to extend my gratitude to outgoing Chief Judge Matthew Johnson, for his dedicated leadership to the Court of Appeals.  I am very glad that he will continue his outstanding service to the people of Minnesota, as a Judge on the Court.”

Judge Cleary’s term as Chief Judge will take effect on November 1, 2013. He currently serves on the Minnesota Court of Appeals where he was appointed by Governor Dayton in 2011. Prior to that, Judge Cleary served as the Assistant Chief Judge for the Second Judicial District where he was appointed by Governor Jesse Ventura in 2002.

Judge Cleary practiced law for 20 years concentrating on civil and criminal defense litigation and was also an Assistant Public Defender for Ramsey County. In 1997, he was appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court to serve as Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility. He received a B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 1974; and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1977. Judge Cleary has been an adjunct professor at the Law School since 2000.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals handles most of the appeals from the final decisions of the trial courts, state agencies and local governments. It is composed of judges who represent each of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts as well as eleven judges who serve in an at-large capacity.