Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Gov. Walz appoints Luis Rangel Morales to fill 1st Judicial District vacancy


May 28, 2024

Contact: Claire Lancaster  



Governor Walz Appoints Luis Rangel Morales to Fill First Judicial District Vacancy


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the appointment of Luis Rangel Morales as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s First Judicial District. Rangel Morales will replace the Honorable Shawn M. Moynihan and will be chambered in Hastings in Dakota County.

“It is my pleasure to appoint Luis Rangel Morales to the First Judicial District,” said Governor Walz. “Appearing before the court is an intimidating experience for everyone, but Mr. Rangel Morales has proven throughout his career how empathy and compassion can ease those anxieties while also ensuring the equitable administration of justice. This skillset will be invaluable as a judge for the people of Dakota County.”

“Luis Rangel Morales will be a remarkable judge,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “His exceptional legal acumen, lived experience, and public defense background will bring a unique and needed perspective to this important role. I look forward to seeing all the great work he will do for this court and community.”

Minnesota’s First Judicial District consists of Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, Le Sueur, McLeod, Scott, and Sibley counties.

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 vice-chair of St. Paul’s Board of Zoning Appeals. He has also volunteered with organizations helping at-risk youth. Rangel Morales received his B.A. from the University of St. Thomas and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

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

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