Judge to be sworn in Friday

Published 12:59 pm Monday, August 1, 2011

The 3rd Judicial District’s newest judge — who will primarily serve Freeborn County — will be sworn in Friday during a ceremony at the Freeborn County Courthouse.

Ross Leuning

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton in May announced the appointment of U.S. Navy Capt. Ross Leuning of Owatonna as the new judge for the district. He will join 22 other judges in the district.

According to a news release from the 3rd Judicial District administrator, the ceremony is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. in courtroom No. 2, with a public reception to follow.

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Leuning recently completed a tour as a command judge advocate for the U.S. Navy at the Al Asad air base in Iraq.

He was one of four finalists recommended to the governor by the state’s Commission on Judicial Selection in April. He will replace former Freeborn County District Court Judge John A. Chesterman, who retired in January.

In addition to his service in the U.S. Navy, Leuning has worked as senior assistant Olmsted County attorney. Prior to that, he was a partner at the law firm of Walbran, Furness & Leuning.

During an interview in May, Leuning said he plans to commute from Owatonna to Albert Lea for the first year as his youngest daughter has a year left of high school. After she graduates, he and his wife will start looking to move to the area.

Leuning is licensed to practice law in Minnesota and Oregon, along with the Minnesota Federal District Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also certified as a general court-martial judge for the Navy and Marine Corps.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Dakota in 1983 and Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1986.

He has also been involved on the Owatonna Library Board, the Owatonna Library Foundation, the Owatonna Human Rights Commission and the Owatonna Healthy Seniors Board, among others.