Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Commission on Judicial Selection recommends 1st Judicial District candidates to Gov. Walz


May 9, 2024

Claire Lancaster  


Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends First Judicial District Candidates to Governor Walz

[ST. PAUL, MN] – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today that it is recommending three candidates for consideration to fill a vacancy in Minnesota’s First Judicial District. The vacancy occurred upon the retirement of the Honorable Shawn M. Moynihan. This seat will be chambered in Hastings in Dakota County.

Christopher Bates: Christopher Bates is an assistant county attorney in the Civil Division of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office. He previously served as an assistant city attorney for the City of Minneapolis, handling criminal cases with a focus on domestic violence, and as an assistant county attorney for the McLeod County Attorney’s Office. Bates’s community involvement includes serving on the board of Mental Health Resources. He also volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities and as a mock trial judge with the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Luis Rangel Morales: Luis Rangel Morales is a staff attorney and director of community engagement for the Neighborhood Justice Center, where he represents low-income community members facing criminal charges in Dakota, Ramsey, and Washington counties. He has also served as defense counsel for the Ramsey County Veterans Treatment Court and Ramsey County DUI Court. Rangel Morales’s community involvement includes serving as chair of the St. Paul Planning Commission and as vice-chair of St. Paul’s Board of Zoning Appeals. He has also volunteered with organizations helping at-risk youth.

Mary Russell: Mary Russell is an assistant attorney general at the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, where she handles criminal prosecution and serves as a member of multiple anti-human trafficking task forces. She previously worked as an assistant county attorney at the Dakota County Attorney’s Office and as an assistant county attorney at the Kanabec County Attorney’s Office. Her community involvement includes serving as a member of the Zero Abuse Project Advisory Board for Excellence in Child Exploitation Investigations and as a mock trial judge. She has also volunteered with organizations that assist victims of domestic and sexual abuse. 

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

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