Frederick L. Grunke was appointed to the district court bench on Mar. 8, 2007, and was elected to six-year terms in 2008 and 2014. In addition to his regular judicial duties, Judge Grunke has been a member of the Stearns County Domestic Violence Partnership since its inception in 2008, and is one of two judges who preside over Stearns County’s innovative and award winning Domestic Violence Court. He has also presided over the Stearns County Adult Drug Court since July, 2009. The Adult Drug Court received the National Association of Drug Court Professionals’ Community Transformation Award in 2012. Judge Grunke was recently appointed to the State Drug Court Initiative Committee. He is also an active member of the Minnesota District Judges Associations’ Committee on Civil Jury Instructions. He, along with other Committee members, received the Association’s 2009 Judicial Award for the development and publication of the Minnesota Jury Instruction Companion Handbook. That same year Judge Grunke presented an interactive continuing education program at the Association’s fall meeting on evidentiary issues including the Hearsay Rule. Judge Grunke frequently speaks to bar associations and community service organizations about problem-solving courts and other outreach topics.
Prior Professional Experience:
Upon graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School, Frederick Grunke served as law clerk to the Honorable Paul Hoffman for one year. He then joined the Donohue Rajkowski law firm in St. Cloud (now Rajkowski Hansmeier) where he was a practicing civil trial attorney for over 27 years. Over that time he tried over 125 jury cases to verdict, briefed and argued dozens of appeals, including four before the Minnesota Supreme Court, published an article in Minnesota Defense on product liability law relating to warnings, and presented at various seminars and conferences on topics of interest to civil practitioners. Grunke was perennially recognized as a “Super Lawyer” based on statewide surveys of lawyers conducted by The Minnesota Journal of Law & Politics.
After graduating from Highland Park High School in St. Paul, Grunke attended Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and Philosophy. He was a four-year member of the varsity golf team, active in student government, served as a Resident Hall Assistant, received the Dr. Frederick Gumz Philosophy Scholarship and was Wartburg’s nominee to Iowa’s Rhodes Scholar selection committee. Grunke received his Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from the University of Minnesota.
Community and Personal:
While in private practice Judge Grunke was an active participant in St. Cloud Legal Aid’s Volunteer Attorney Program, receiving the Seventh District’s award for outstanding volunteer service in 1999 and also served on the St. Cloud Legal Aid Board of Directors in the early 1980’s. Since 2008 he has regularly volunteered to critique the final mock trial conducted by students in the University of Minnesota Law School trial practice class. Grunke is an active member of Peace United Church of Christ and has served as church council moderator, deacon and trustee. Spare time is devoted to his passions for gardening, cooking, canoeing and camping, as well as travel and time with his spouse of 33 years, Ann, and their three adult children.