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Dayton taps Jesson, Smith for Court of Appeals

Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Lucinda E. Jesson, the commissioner of the Department of Human Services, and Tracy M. Smith, the deputy general counsel for the University of Minnesota, to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Jesson fills the vacancy created after Dayton named Appeals Court Judge Natalie Hudson to the Supreme Court. Smith will replace Appeals Court Judge John P. Smith, who is slated to retire on Feb. 2.

“Lucinda Jesson has done a superb job managing Minnesota’s largest state agency,” Dayton said in a prepared statement. “I am deeply grateful to Ms. Jesson for her outstanding service to the people of Minnesota, and have the utmost confidence in her judgment. Her impeccable qualifications for this position speak for themselves. I am certain she will bring the same measure of excellence to the Minnesota Court of Appeals as she has demonstrated during her service at the Department of Human Services.”

Before Dayton tapped her to lead DHS in 2011, Jesson was an associate professor of law at Hamline University, and a partner at Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly, LLP.

As deputy general counsel for the University of Minnesota, Smith has represented the U in general litigation on a wide range of legal issues.

Before the U, Smith worked in the attorney general’s office on consumer fraud investigations and lawsuits, civil antitrust investigations, and criminal appeals.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Georgetown University and her Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School.


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