Senior Judge John E. DeSanto
Senior Judge John E. DeSanto


Appointed July 6, 2009, by Governor Tim Pawlenty. Elected in 2010. Retired on Sept. 16, 2015.

Appointed and assigned to serve statewide as Senior Judge from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2023.


Attorney in private practice in Duluth, March 2008-July 2009

Assistant St. Louis County Attorney in Duluth, 1973-March 2008 (Chief prosecutor in charge of criminal division, 1976-2007)


J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, 1973

B.A., cum laude, University of Minnesota – Duluth, 1968

Professional Memberships:

Minnesota District Judges Association

Professional and Community Activities:

Member of American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section Racial Justice Improvement Project Task Force Team for St. Louis County, MN.
Faculty member, Bemidji State University Honorable James E. Preece Trial Advocacy School, 1982-2001

Taught law enforcement classes, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet

Member, Duluth YMCA Community Services Committee

Member, Christians in Commerce International (Past president of Duluth Chapter)

Attorney volunteer, Volunteer Attorney Program in Duluth

Prison fellowship volunteer, Federal Prison Camp in Hermantown

Past board president, Union Gospel Mission of Duluth

Former member, Kiwanis Club of Duluth

Former board member, Duluth YMCA Friendship and Brotherhood Association (now Mentor Duluth)

Judge DeSanto has been a speaker at numerous continuing legal education, Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and law enforcement training seminars, and he has addressed Duluth school students about criminal prosecution annually for 30 years. He is also active in his church.