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Wisconsin Judges Directory

For immediate release:
Friday, November 30, 2001

GOVERNOR APPOINTS THREE TO SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT

(St. Paul, MN) Governor Jesse Ventura today announced the appointment of Rosanne Nathanson, George Stephenson and Steven Wheeler to the Second Judicial District trial court bench in Ramsey County.  Eighty-nine people applied for these three vacancies.

Nathanson is of counsel to the law firm of Leonard, Street and Deinard in Minneapolis.  She has been an attorney with the firm since 1988.  She was an attorney with the Minneapolis law firm of Pepin, Dayton, Herman and Graham from 1987 to 1988 and an attorney with the Minneapolis law firm of Trawick and Smith from 1980 to 1987.  Nathanson earned her juris doctorate degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul in 1980 and her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1968.

"Rosanne's law practice is primarily in the field of family law, a background that is under-represented on the bench in Ramsey County," Governor Ventura said.  "Her warm and compassionate style will be a calming presence to those who appear before her in court."

Nathanson is a member of the American, Minnesota, Hennepin and Ramsey County Bar Associations.  She in on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota State Bar Foundation and has co-chaired numerous committees, including the Hennepin County Bar Association Ethics Committee and Family Law Section.  She is a board member of the United Jewish Fund and Council the Melpomene Institute, and has served as a board member on the Shalom Community Alliance and Shalom Foundation, and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Nathanson fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable John Connolly, whose retirement is effective on February 28, 2002.  Nathanson, 55, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and lives in St. Paul.

Stephenson is the Deputy City Attorney and chief prosecutor for the city of St. Paul.  He has been in the St. Paul City Attorney's office since 1998.  Stephenson was an assistant Plymouth City Attorney with the Eagan law firm of Campbell, Knudsen from 1995 to 1998, an associate attorney with the Minneapolis law firm of Walling and Berg from 1990 to 1993, an assistant federal defender from 1988 to 1990, an assistant Ramsey County Attorney from 1987 to 1988 and an assistant St. Paul City Attorney from 1986 to 1987.  Stephenson earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1985 and his bachelor of arts degree from St. Mary's University in Winona in 1980.

"George's varied background in the practice of law has prepared him for this position," Governor Ventura said.  "In addition, he is a role model in the community, especially with inner-city youth.  I know that he will continue to be a positive influence in the Ramsey County community as a judge."

Stephenson is a member of the Frogtown-Summit/University Peacekeeping and Sentencing Circle and a member and organizer of the Hmong Community Peacekeeping and Sentencing Circle.  He also wrote and implemented the Frogtown-Summit/University Community Prosecutor Program.  Since 1990, Stephenson has also been president of GEOmetric Design, Inc., a company that manufacturers model kits of horror, science fiction and fantasy film characters.  Through this venture that he coordinates activities for inner-city youth.

Stephenson fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Lawrence Cohen, whose retirement is effective on January 7, 2002.  Stephenson, 43, was born in Chicago, and lives in Maplewood with his wife, Nancy, and their three children, David, 8, Monica, 6, and Leigh, 4.

Wheeler is the Chief Judge of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, a position he has held since 1991.  He held positions of vice president and corporate counsel, deputy general counsel, senior labor relations and labor relations attorney with Northwest Airlines in Eagan from 1973 to 1991 and was an attorney with the St. Paul law firm now known as Murnane, Conlin, White and Brandt from 1970 to 1973.  Wheeler earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1970 and his bachelor of arts degree from Macalester College in St. Paul in 1966.

"Steve has been a tremendously effective leader of the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals, transforming that court into a team that works together and issues fair, timely, and consistent opinions," Governor Ventura said.  "He will bring that collegiality and work ethic with him to the Ramsey County bench."

Wheeler is President-elect of the Warren E. Burger Inn of Court, is a member of the American, Federal, Minnesota, Hennepin and Ramsey County Bar Associations, has been an adjunct professor at Hamline University School of Law, and a lecturer for numerous workers' compensation programs.  He is also a Hennepin County Guardian ad Litem, vice-chair of the American Red Cross St. Paul Chapter Board of Directors, and the Fairway Foundation, a golf program for inner-city youth.  Wheeler has also been active in community youth athletic programs and was a volunteer judge for the YMCA Youth in Government Program.

Wheeler fills the vacancy created by the resignation of the Honorable Charles Flinn, Jr., whose resignation is effective on January 7, 2002.  Wheeler, 57, was born in Banana River, Florida and lives in St. Paul.  He has two grown children, Heidi, 32, and Benjamin, 31.


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