Judicial Orders and Public Notices:
September 20, 2018
The Second Judicial District is Seeking to Expand Membership for its Family Court Early Case Management Steering Committee
The Ramsey County Early Case Management Steering Committee was convened in 2009 and meets approximately six times a year. The purpose of this Committee is to (1) facilitate communication among stakeholders and the court about Family Court Case Management practices; (2) develop and recommend ideas on how to improve services to achieve better outcomes for those who appear in family court; (3) monitor the quality of services offered and procedures followed in family court; and (4) encourage cooperation between the Court and Alternative Dispute Resolution providers, mental health professionals, and attorneys.
Learn More »
February 17, 2017 Use of Cameras in the Courtroom and Areas Adjacent
November 8, 2016 Order Regarding the 2016 General Election Signed by Chief Judge John H. Guthmann on Oct. 26, 2016 directing requests for judicial relief related to any alleged irregularities in the 2016 election process in Ramsey County
October 25, 2016 Search Warrant and Pen Register Information MNCIS case number information that enables law enforcement agencies to e-File search warrants and pen registers in the 2nd District
July 21, 2016 Order Regarding Possession of Firearms and other Weapons in a Courthouse Complex Within the Second District Effective immediately
March 24, 2016 Reimbursement for Attorney Fees and Costs for Appeals pursuant to Minnesota Statute 611.27 details the reimbursement fees and costs associated with appeals initiated by the prosecution.
January 1, 2015 New Implied Consent Policy
June 19, 2018
JaPaul Harris and Kelly Olmstead Appointed to the Second District Bench
Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointments of JaPaul J. Harris and Kelly L. Olmstead as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Mr. Harris and Ms. Olmstead will be replacing the Honorable William H. Leary, III and the Honorable Edward S. Wilson, and will be chambered at St. Paul in Ramsey County.
More information about the appointments »
June 1, 2018
Family Court Seeks Applicants for Financial Early Neutral Evaluation and Social Early Neutral Evaluation Rosters
The Second Judicial District Family Court Division is again seeking applications for Financial Early Neutral Evaluation and for private Social Early Neutral Evaluation providers. Applications will be accepted through Friday, June 29, 2018.
(Applications for the Early Neutral Evaluation Roster are no longer being accepted at this time.)
December 15, 2017 Judge Sophia Vuelo to Take Office Monday, December 18th, 2017
On November 30th, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Sophia Vuelo as a District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Ms. Vuelo will replace the Honorable Margaret M. Marrinan, and will be chambered at St. Paul in Ramsey County. Her first day in office is December 18th, 2017. “Ms. Sophia Vuelo has dedicated her career to pursuing justice for all Minnesotans, through her work with Minnesota courts, charities, and in her own private practice,” said Governor Dayton. “Ms. Vuelo’s commitment to public service has prepared her well for this important new role, as District Court Judge for Minnesota’s Second Judicial District.”
Ms. Vuelo was a solo practitioner at Vuelo Law, where she managed a high volume caseload in juvenile protection, family, and criminal matters. Previously, she was a Special Assistant Ramsey County Attorney, Assistant Public Defender in the Second Judicial District, Assistant Rochester City Attorney, and Managing Attorney at Catholic Charities. Ms. Vuelo received her BA from the University of Minnesota and her JD from Hamline University School of Law.
More information on the Commission on Judicial Selection »
September 30, 2016 Governer Dayton Appoints Two New Judges to the Second District
Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointments of DeAnne M. Hilgers and Timothy T. Mulrooney as District Court judges in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District.
More information about the appointees »
June 20, 2016
Family Court Seeks Applicants for FENE and SENE Rosters
The Second Judicial District Family Court Division seeks applications for Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (“FENE”) and for private Social Early Neutral Evaluation (“SENE”) providers. Applications will be accepted through Monday, July 25th, 2016.
NOTE: the application deadline has passed, but positions may reopen in the future.
More information about Early Neutral Evaluation »
April 11, 2016
Governor Dayton Appoints G. Tony Atwal and Laura Nelson Olmstead to Fill Second Judicial District Vacancies
ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointments of G. Tony Atwal and Laura Nelson Olmstead as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Mr. Atwal and Ms. Nelson Olmstead are replacing the Honorable Rosanne Nathanson and the Honorable Salvador M. Rosas, who both retired earlier this year. Mr. Atwal and Ms. Nelson Olmstead will be chambered at Saint Paul in Ramsey County.
About G. Tony Atwal
Mr. Atwal is an attorney at Johnson Becker, PLLC, where he handles cases in employment law and mass tort class action lawsuits. He is also an Appellate Advocacy Adjunct Professor at Mitchell Hamline School of law and previously was an attorney at Nichols Kaster, PLLP, an assistant appellate public defender for the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender, and a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Gregg E. Johnson and the Honorable Wilhelmina M. Wright. Mr. Atwal earned his B.S. from Pacific University in Oregon and his J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.
Mr. Atwal volunteers as a pro bono attorney for the appellate public defender, serves as a board member on the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society, and was recently awarded Adjunct Professor of the Year by Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
About Laura Nelson Olmstead
Ms. Nelson Olmstead is an attorney at Robins Kaplan, LLP, where she represents plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of complex commercial matters and family law litigation. Previously, she was a staff attorney at The Advocates for Human Rights and a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Kathryn L. Quaintance in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. Ms. Nelson Olmstead earned her B.A. from the University of Redlands, Johnston Center and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Ms. Nelson Olmstead is the Secretary of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association and a Bench & Bar Benefit Committee member for the Ramsey County Bar Association. She previously served as a board member on the Hennepin County Domestic Fatality Review Board and volunteered as a mock trial coach at the University of St. Thomas Law School.
More information on the Commission on Judicial Selection, as well as vacancies it is currently considering, can be found on the Office of the Governor and Lt. Governor website.
Oct 29, 2015
Governor Dayton Appoints Stephen L. Smith to Fill Second Judicial District Vacancy
ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Stephen L. Smith as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Mr. Smith will be replacing the Honorable Joanne M. Smith, who retired earlier this year. Mr. Smith will be chambered at Saint Paul in Ramsey County.
“It is my great pleasure to appoint Stephen Smith to serve as Judge in the Second Judicial District,” said Governor Dayton. "Mr. Smith has demonstrated his commitments to justice and public service through his excellent work as a public defender, and in the Office of the Attorney General.”
Mr. Smith is the principal attorney at The Law Firm of Stephen L. Smith, PLLC, where he litigates employment, criminal, and civil rights cases in state and federal court. Additionally, Mr. Smith has served nearly 14 years as an Assistant State Public Defender. Previously, he was a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office and an attorney with the law firms Sprenger & Lang and Messerli & Kramer. He earned his B.A. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Mr. Smith is a member of various organizations, including the Minnesota Association for Justice, the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.
Sara Grewing and Nicole Starr appointed to the 2nd District Bench (December 29, 2014)
Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointments of Sara R. Grewing and Nicole J. Starr as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Ms. Grewing and Ms. Starr will be replacing the Honorable Paulette K. Flynn and the Honorable Gregg E. Johnson, who retired earlier this year. Both appointees will be chambered at St. Paul in Ramsey County.
Ms. Grewing is the St. Paul City Attorney, where she serves as the chief prosecutor for all misdemeanors within the city, oversees all civil litigation, and provides legal counsel to the Mayor and City Council. Previously, she was Chief of staff to the Mayor of St. Paul, the State Director for United States Senator Amy Klobuchar, and an associate attorney at Flaherty and Hood, PA. Ms. Grewing earned her BM from the University of Minnesota and her JD from William Mitchell College of Law.
Ms. Grewing is a member of the Board of Trustees for William Mitchell College of Law, the Board of Directors for the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation, and the President’s Leadership Circle of Minnesota Women Lawyers.
Ms. Starr is an Assistant Public Defender in the Second Judicial District Public Defender’s Office, where she specializes in forensic science. She is also of counsel at Hellmuth and Johnson, PLLC, and previously served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Katherine D. Roe in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District and the Honorable Justice Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob in the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Ms. Starr earned her BA from the University of Minnesota and her JD from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Ms. Starr is a former board member of the YWCA of the USA and is currently an executive board member of the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
New Judicial District Administrator Appointed in Ramsey County (December 3, 2014)
Chief Judge Teresa R. Warner has appointed Heather M. Kendall as District Administrator of the Second Judicial District. The appointment was approved by the Minnesota Judicial Council on Nov. 20, and is effective Jan. 5, 2015.
Heather Kendall has worked in Minnesota’s First Judicial District since 2002; first as a court operations supervisor, and then as a court operations manager in Dakota County District Court. She became Deputy Court Administrator in Dakota County in 2007, and since 2012 has been the Court Administrator for Scott County District Court. She has also served on the Policy 800 Access Program Advisory Panel and the Advisory Committee on the General Rules of Practice. Prior to joining the Branch, Kendall was an associate attorney at Brown & Carlson, P.A. in Minneapolis.
She received training though the International Law Program at the University of Innsbruck in Austria in 1998 and received her law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 2000. She was also named a Certified Court Manager in 2010 by the National Center for Court Management.
As District Administrator, Kendall will oversee the administrative affairs of the district, including management and processing of all court records and files; district budgeting and accounting; human resources; and maintenance of the district’s computer network.
She will replace Lawrence K. Dease, who retired in November after serving as Second Judicial District Administrator for nearly 15 years.
American Board of Trial Advocates Honors Judge John Van de North as Trial Judge of the Year (August 29, 2014)
The Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) presented Judge John Van De North
with its 2014 Trial Judge of the Year Award at the Chapter’s Annual Meeting on August 21 in Minneapolis. The award recognizes outstanding service and the promotion of integrity and civility in the courtroom, and recipients are chosen by Minnesota ABOTA’s Executive Committee.
Judge Van de North was recognized for his contributions as district court judge for 16 years. In the words of ABOUTA President George Soule, "He supports the right to trial by jury and has tried countless cases, including many high-profile civil and criminal matters, in a fair, impartial, and professional manner. He promotes integrity and civility among all parties in his courtroom, and he is recognized by his colleagues as a judge’s judge, in that he is always available for advice and mentoring.”
ABOTA is an organization of experienced and ethical trial lawyers. Its mission is to preserve the right to a civil jury trial guaranteed by the 7th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, ethics, civility, and courtesy in the legal profession. For more information, contact George Soule, President, Minnesota ABOTA, (612) 251-5518, email@example.com