Governor’s merit selection panel recommends Court of Appeals candidates


April 1, 2022

Contact: Claire Lancaster




Governor’s Merit Selection Panel Recommends Court of Appeals Candidates


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz’s judicial merit selection panel announced today that it is recommending four candidates for consideration to fill the upcoming vacancy on Minnesota’s Court of Appeals. This vacancy will occur upon the retirement of the Honorable James B. Florey. This seat is designated for Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District.

Earlier this year, Governor Walz asked a merit selection panel consisting of Administration leadership, as well as the Chair and at-large members of the Commission on Judicial Selection, to solicit applications, review candidates, and recommend finalists for appointment to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Judge Dale Harris: Judge Harris serves in the Sixth Judicial District and is chambered in Duluth. During his time on the bench, he helped establish the first Veterans Treatment Court in Northeastern Minnesota. Judge Harris previously served as an Assistant St. Louis County Attorney and a captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve, where he was a judge on the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. Judge Harris’s community involvement includes serving as the judicial representative on the Arrowhead Regional Corrections Advisory Board and as a representative on the Elections Committee for the Minnesota District Judges Association. He also writes a monthly newspaper column for several Northeastern Minnesota publications about court processes and current issues of concern.

Chief Judge Stoney Hiljus: Chief Judge Hiljus serves in the Tenth Judicial District and is chambered in Mora. His responsibilities as Chief Judge include serving on the Minnesota Judicial Council and Court Operations Policy and Strategy (COPS) committee, where he currently serves as the chair. Judge Hiljus previously served as the Coon Rapids City Attorney and the Legal Services Director for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. His community involvement has included serving on the Board of Directors of the Alexandra House, the Character Education Task Force of Cambridge-Isanti ISD 91, and the 18th District Bar Association. He also has actively participated in MSBA High School Mock Trial competitions as a judge and coach.

Elise Larson: Ms. Larson serves as the Water Program Director and senior attorney at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. She also is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she teaches environmental law and supervises the Environment and Energy Law Clinic. Ms. Larson was previously a law clerk for Chief Justice Lorie Gildea on the Minnesota Supreme Court, Judge Myron Bright on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and Chief Judge John Tunheim on the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Ms. Larson’s community involvement includes committee memberships with the Federal Practice Committee, the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Section, the MSBA Appellate Practice Section, and the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources Trust Fund Citizen Selection Committee. 

Judge Korey Wahwassuck: Judge Wahwassuck serves in the Ninth Judicial District and is chambered in Grand Rapids. She was previously a tribal attorney, an associate judge, and the Chief Judge for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Judge Wahwassuck currently serves on the Minnesota Children’s Justice Initiative Lead Judges Workgroup, the Minnesota Tribal Court/State Court Forum, and the Opioid Epidemic Response Advisory Council. Judge Wahwassuck was a founding member of the Leech Lake-Cass County-Itasca County Wellness Courts, the first joint tribal-state jurisdiction courts in the nation. Her community involvement includes leadership on the Circle of Healing and SPARK programs.

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