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Attorneys of the Year: Chris Madel

Chris Madel

Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi

The last time Chris Madel was an Attorney of the Year, he was on the team to straighten out the Fiesta Bowl fraudfest. This year, his selection had to do with a case he said was even more frightening.

Madel’s client, Gregory Pederson, was a senior executive at Pinehurst Bank in St. Paul in 2010. When a customer kited checks to the tune of $1.9 million, Pederson and bank President John Markert were accused of trying to cover up the fraud. Although Markert was convicted on several counts of misapplication of bank funds, the jury found Pederson not guilty on all charges.

Madel explained that, like many federal cases, he found the deck stacked against him, and he had to fight the government to get crucial documents released. But he was able to get some charges dismissed before the trial began.

Pederson’s thank-you note included a picture of himself and his three boys, and it said Madel had made it possible for him to be a dad again. Madel said that he’s going to have it framed.

“I’ve had the honor of representing innocent people before, but it gets scarier every time and there was something about this one,” Madel said.

Another of Madel’s cases this year set a Minnesota Supreme Court precedent. Madel and another Robins Kaplan attorney, Emily Cowing, represented Enjoli Rosas, who had received a stay of adjudication on a 2010 marijuana possession charge. When she called for guidance on voting in the 2012 election, Ramsey County officials told her incorrectly that she could not — and that doing so would be a felony offense. As a result of the action Madel and Cowing filed, the Supreme Court issued an order that there was no judgment of guilty on her felony charge, and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office issued a memo that spelled out the right to vote in cases like Rosas’.

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