Kritzer misses out on judge post

Published 11:25 am Tuesday, May 3, 2011

He may not have been picked to serve as the next judge for the 3rd District court, but Austin attorney Jeff Kritzer was pleased he’d been a finalist.

Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Capt. Ross Leuning, USN, as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s 3rd Judicial District. Leuning will replace John A. Chesterman after his retirement; he expects to return from Iraq and be sworn-in in July.

“I am proud that Captain Ross Leuning is my first judicial appointment, as he exemplifies the outstanding caliber of person I will seek for these important positions,” Dayton said in a press release. “Captain Leuning is presently serving our country and the cause of freedom in Iraq, where his military judicial experience further qualifies him for assuming those responsibilities on the Third District Court.”

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In addition to his Navy service, Leuning is a Senior Assistant Olmsted County Attorney. Previously, he was a partner at the law firm Walbran, Furness & Leuning. Leuning is licensed to practice law in the states of Minnesota and Oregon, Minnesota Federal District Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and is certified as a General Court-Martial Judge for the Navy and Marine Corps. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 1983, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1986.

Kritzer congratulated Leuning and said he was honored to have been a finalist. He also was pleased to have met Dayton, as Dayton interviewed all four finalist candidates.

“I was honored to be considered for the position,” Kritzer said. “I also enjoyed meeting the governor.”

Kritzer practices in both civil and criminal law. Prior to this, he was a corporate attorney for Hormel Foods Corp. He also serves on the Austin Public School Board and was president of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Captain Leuning resides with his family in Owatonna. The 3rd Judicial District serves Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, and Winona counties.