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Judge to be sworn in Friday

ALBERT LEA — The 3rd Judicial District's newest judge, who will serve primarily Freeborn County, will be sworn in Aug. 5 during a ceremony at the Freeborn County Courthouse.

Navy Capt. Ross Leuning of Owatonna, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton in May, joins 22 other judges in the district, which includes the counties of Olmsted, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona.

The afternoon ceremony will be followed by a public reception.

Leuning, who recently completed a tour as a command judge advocate for the Navy at the Al Asad air base in Iraq, was one of four finalists recommended to the governor by the state's Commission on Judicial Selection in April. He replaces John Chesterman, who retired in January.

Leuning 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 because his youngest daughter has one year left of high school.

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 a bachelor of science degree from the University of South Dakota in 1983 and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1986.

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

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