Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Governor’s merit selection panel recommends Court of Appeals candidates


December 18, 2023

Contact: Claire Lancaster



Governor’s Merit Selection Panel Recommends Court of Appeals Candidates


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Earlier this year, Governor Walz asked a merit selection panel to solicit applicants, review candidates, and recommend finalists for appointment to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The panel includes the chair and at-large members of the Commission on Judicial Selection and other administration leaders.

Today, the panel announced that it is recommending three candidates from that applicant pool for consideration to fill the current vacancy on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The vacancy occurred upon the resignation of the Honorable Jeffrey M. Bryan, who was recently appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota by President Joe Biden.

Rachel Bond: Rachel Bond is a managing attorney in the Office of the Minnesota Appellate Public Defender, where she supervises a team of attorneys and represents criminal defendants in their direct appeals to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court. She was previously an attorney at Faegre & Benson LLP and Shearman & Sterling, as well as a law clerk to the Honorable Boyce F. Martin Jr. on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Bond’s community involvement includes serving as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee for the Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure and an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Bond’s community involvement also includes serving on the board of the Great North Innocence Project and as a judge for the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition.  

JaPaul Harris: JaPaul Harris serves as a judge in the Second Judicial District in Ramsey County. He previously served as a judicial referee in Hennepin County, presiding over housing, harassment, juvenile, and civil commitment matters. Harris also serves as the chair of the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Juvenile Rules Advisory Committee. Harris’s community involvement includes serving as co-chair of the Ramsey County Youth Justice Transformation Initiative, as chair of the Equal Justice Committee for the Second Judicial District and various statewide committees, and as a member of the board of the Volunteer Lawyers Network. 

Sarah Hennesy: Sarah Hennesy is the chief judge of the Seventh Judicial District and is chambered in St. Cloud. She previously practiced law in both appellate and trial courts as an appellate public defender in Iowa, as a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, and as a staff attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid in St. Cloud. Hennesy also serves as chair of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the General Rules of Practice. Her community involvement includes speaking at Minnesota Women Lawyers Association and other legal organization events, volunteering as a judge and coach for mock trial teams, and working with local schools to help students learn about the judiciary.

For more information about the judicial selection process, please visit the Governor’s Judicial Appointments webpage.  


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