Voter's Guide: Minnesota Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals 2
Employment: Attorney, practicing in all levels of both state and federal courts in both civil and criminal matters.
Public office experience: Former chairman of the St. Paul Human Rights Commission; former member of the Ramsey County Charter Commission; former officer of the St. Paul DFL, former board member of the District Five Planning Council; former member of the Executive Council of the Minnesota State Bar Association.
What do you want to accomplish if elected? The best telltale sign of a good judge is not what decision the judge renders, but how he or she reaches that result. I want to make sure that the poor and the powerless are treated with the same dignity, professionalism and fairness as the wealthy and the powerful.
Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? Leveling the playing field for the poor and vulnerable in Minnesota courts requires a true student of the law with an intellectual curiosity and discipline that guides every decision. Nearly 20 years ago I began trying cases to juries. Since then I have worked in one of the best law firms in this country and have earned the respect of my peers as a strong thinker with an eye always set toward fairness. I will bring all of that experience and pair it with my personal commitment to Equal Justice Under the Law.
What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? Some of my qualifications are outlined above. I am running to give Minnesotans a rare opportunity to choose for themselves who will be a judge. Selecting a judge is usually left to politicians and lawyers; the politicians appoint but in Minnesota only a lawyer can challenge that appointment by running against a sitting judge. Lawyers rarely do (for obvious reasons). Indeed, a politician appointed my opponent after she served in his administration. I want to be appointed by the people. Minnesotans have a chance to vote for someone other than the incumbent—I hope it does.
Lucinda Ellen Jesson
Employment: Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge.
Public office experience: I was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals by the governor after review by the Judicial Selection Commission. This is my first election in order to continue in my role as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Besides the court of appeals, I have had held in the following public service jobs: Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Services; chief deputy county attorney, Hennepin County Attorney's Office; deputy attorney general, Minnesota Attorney General's Office.
What do you want to accomplish if elected? A judicial system cannot function without a foundation of public trust. Judges must remain independent from the politics of the day without retreating from the society that we serve. I will remain independent and engage with the community to stay connected to the people that I serve.
Specifically, how would you accomplish your goals? I believe my opinions reflect the even handed decision-making that led corporations, judges, a governor and governments to hire me as a lawyer, a government leader and a judge. But decision-making goes beyond knowing the "right decision." Even the best decision lacks meaning it is not explained in a way that all people, regular Minnesotans, can understand. My opinions are written with the goal of clear, understandable explanations. I brought with me to the bench, and strive to maintain, a humbling appreciation for and experience with the broad spectrum of people across our state and seen in our judicial system.
What abilities or qualifications separate you from your competition? Why are you the best candidate for the job? I have a breadth of experience gained both as a judge and from my previous legal work. A Court of Appeals judge decides six cases each week, addressing nearly every legal issue imaginable. I have authored over 150 opinions (all are available on my campaign website because I believe in transparency). Before joining the court, I worked at law firms and spent significant time in public service. I brought these experiences with me to the bench after being appointed by the governor and thoroughly vetted by the Selection Commission, made up of attorneys and citizens from all over the state.