Gov. Walz appoints Melissa Houghtaling to fill 4th Judicial District vacancy


June 7, 2022

Claire Lancaster




Governor Walz Appoints Melissa Houghtaling to Fill Fourth Judicial District Vacancy


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced the appointment of Melissa Houghtaling as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. Houghtaling will be replacing the Honorable Regina M. Chu and will be chambered in Minneapolis in Hennepin County.

“I am honored to appoint Ms. Houghtaling to the Fourth Judicial District bench,” said Governor Walz. “Her previous service as a judicial officer, combined with her lifelong dedication to equity and justice initiatives to help improve the lives of LGBTQ+ Minnesotans, will serve her well as a district court judge.”

“Ms. Houghtaling’s passion for public service and commitment to ensuring everyone has meaningful access to justice will make her a great addition to the bench,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Her character, lived experience, and expertise will serve the people of Hennepin County well.”

Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District encompasses Hennepin County.

About Melissa Houghtaling:

Houghtaling is a district court referee in the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the Fourth Judicial District, presiding over housing, harassment, and petty misdemeanor cases. She previously worked as a human services judge at the Minnesota Department of Human Services and as a law clerk for Judges Bradford Delapena, Joanne Turner, and Thomas Haluska of the Minnesota Tax Court. Prior to her public service career, Houghtaling was a shareholder and attorney at Heltzer & Houghtaling, P.A. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Hamline University, and Inver Hills Community College. Houghtaling is the former chair of the St. Paul Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Commission and the former co-chair of the Minnesota Lavender Bar Association. Her community involvement also includes volunteering as a mock trial judge for the MSBA High School Mock Trial Program and serving on the Fourth Judicial District Equal Justice Committee. She earned her B.A. from Hamline University and J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law.


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