Christopher Dietzen

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Christopher Dietzen
Court Information:
Minnesota Supreme Court
Title:   Justice
Salary:  $152,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Active:   2008-2016
Past post:   Judge, Minnesota Court of Appeals
Past term:   2004-2008
Past post 2:   Attorney and partner, Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren, Ltd.
Past term 2:   1978-2004
Personal History
Born:   3/8/1947
Undergraduate:   Gonzaga University, 1969
Law School:   Gonzaga University School of Law, 1973

Christopher Dietzen is an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court, a position to which he was appointed in 2008 by Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican. Dietzen was re-elected in 2010 to a term which expires in 2016.[1]


He earned his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University in 1969 and his J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1973.[1]


Awards and associations


  • Member of the Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Chair of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure
  • Member of the Commission on Judicial selection
  • Advisory Committee to Review the Code of Judicial Conduct and the Rules of the Board on Judicial Standards[1]


2010 retention

See also: Minnesota judicial elections, 2010

Dietzen's was re-elected after running unopposed.[2][3]

Judicial philosophy

Audio of Dietzen's judicial philosophy is available here.

Notable cases

Life without parole not 'cruel and unusual punishment' for teens

In a 5-2 decision, authored by Dietzen, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that sentencing a teen to life in prison without parole does not violate the Constitution's cruel and unusual punishment ban. Two teens, one who was 17 at the time, tried to appeal their conviction for murder, after chasing down another teen and shooting him repeatedly in an alley. The Court cited a Supreme Court of the United States 2005 ruling that overturned a death sentence for a teen but allowed life in prison as the sentence as precedent.[4]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Dietzen received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.19, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.07 that justices received in Minnesota. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[5]

See also

External links


MinnesotaMinnesota Supreme CourtMinnesota Court of AppealsMinnesota District CourtsMinnesota Problem-Solving CourtsMinnesota Tax CourtMinnesota Workers' Compensation Court of AppealsUnited States District Court for the District of MinnesotaUnited States bankruptcy court, District of MinnesotaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitMinnesota countiesMinnesota judicial newsMinnesota judicial electionsJudicial selection in MinnesotaMinnesotaTemplate.jpg