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Judge Profile:

Judge Joanne M. Smith

Ramsey County

Ramsey County Courthouse
Phone: (651) 266-8266


Appointed by Governor Rudy Perpich on Nov. 10, 1983.  Elected in 1986, 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010.  Current term expires Jan. 2017.


J.D., honors, Hamline University School of Law, 1977
M.A., highest honors, University of Minnesota-Duluth, 1972
B.A., cum laude, University of Minnesota-Duluth, 1968


Assistant Public Defender- Ramsey County, 1979-1983
Law Clerk (Hon. Allen Oleisky)- Hennepin County Court, 1978-1979

Professional Memberships:

Minnesota Women Elected Officials
Minnesota District Judges Association
National Association of Women Judges
Minnesota State Bar Association
Ramsey County Bar Associations

Community Activities:

Board Member- St. Paul Domestic Abuse Project and Crime Victim-Witness Advisory Board
Volunteer Attorney Advisor- For domestic abuse cases
Former Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
Assistant Director- Dayton Halfway House
Board Member- St. Paul Youth Service Bureau

Professional Activities:

Chief Judge- Second Judicial District Court, 1989-1992
Assistant Chief Judge- Second Judicial District Court, 1987-1988
Chair- Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure, 1991-present

Lecturing and Teaching Experience:

From 1979-1981, Judge Smith was an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law. Since then, she has lectured frequently at local high schools on topics such as, the judicial system, the legal process, and women in law.

Additional Information:

Judge Smith was the first woman ever to be elected Chief Judge of a judicial district in the state of Minnesota.