Senior Judge Lyonel Norris
Senior Judge Lyonel Norris


Appointed by Governor Mark Dayton, effective Aug. 8, 2011. Elected in 2012. 

Retired Sept. 1, 2017. 

Appointed as a referee in Hennepin County from January 31, 2022, until January 31, 2023.

Appointed and assigned to serve statewide as Senior Judge from April 19, 2023, to June 30, 2025.


University of Minnesota, J.D., 1983
Carleton College, B.A., 1977


Assistant Federal Defender, 2002-2011

Director, Office of Equity, Minnesota Department of Education, 2000-2002

State Public Defender, 1995-2000

Assistant State Public Defender, 1991-1994

Law Clerk, Honorable Michael J. Davis, 1983-1985 (State), 1994-1995 (Federal)

Professional and Community Activities:

Board of Directors, Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, Minneapolis, 2002-2004

Board of Directors, Children's Law Center, Minneapolis, 1993-1996

Board of Directors, Central Minnesota Legal Services, Minneapolis, 1993-1998

Member, Hospital Review Board, Anoka Metropolitan Regional Treatment Center, 1992-1996

Board of Directors, American Youth Work Center, Washington, D.C., 1988-present

Member, Minneapolis Advisory Council on Disabilities, 1989-1991

Additional Information:

Adjunct Professor, Department of Criminal Justice and Forensic Studies, Hamline University, 1999-2008

Adjunct Faculty, Criminal Appeals Clinic, William Mitchell College of Law, Spring 1998

Supervising Attorney, Civil Practice Clinic, University of Minnesota Law School, 1989-1990


Criminal, March 6, 2017-Sept. 1, 2017
Juvenile, February 3, 2014-March 5, 2017
Criminal, August 2012-January 31, 2014