Michael V. Sovis

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Michael V. Sovis
Court Information:
Minnesota First Judicial District
Title:   Former Judge
Appointed by:   Rudy Perpich
Active:   1988-2013
Succeeded by:   Colleen Goggins King
Past post:   Attorney in private practice
Past term:   1975-1988
Personal History
Undergraduate:   University of Minnesota, 1971
Law School:   Hamline University School of Law/Midwestern School of Law, 1975
Grad. School:   University of Minnesota, 1972

Michael V. Sovis was a First District Court judge in Dakota County, Minnesota. He was appointed to this position on June 1, 1988 by Governor Rudy Perpich and was later retained in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008.[1] He retired from the bench after pleading guilty to two counts of third-degree drunken driving.[2]

In the news

Sovis arrested, charged with DWI (2012)

Sovis was arrested on Christmas Eve in 2012. According to court documents, witnesses saw a black SUV, later found to be driven by Sovis, hit a parked vehicle, make a U-turn and then hit another parked vehicle before crashing into a snowbank.[3]

Sovis told officers he consumed six drinks which contained vodka before getting behind the wheel. An officer at the scene reported having to hold Sovis up so he would not fall down. A breath test measured Sovis' blood alcohol at 0.28 percent, over three times the legal limit in Minnesota.[3]

Sovis pleads guilty and requests medical disability retirement

Sovis entered a plea of guilty in Ramsey County District Court to two counts of third-degree drunk driving. He was sentenced to two years of probation, with two days credit for time served. His sentence also requires him to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and refrain using alcohol and nonprescription drugs. He is also required to undergo random drug testing.[2]

His attorney, David L. Ayers, read a letter in court that Sovis wrote to Governor Mark Dayton requesting a medical disability retirement. At the time of the incident, Sovis was 64. With a medical disability retirement, Sovis will collect a year of regular pay before he is eligible to begin receiving his pension at age 65. Judges in Minnesota must retire by age 70.[2]

Sovis' attorney, Ayers, said in a statement,

I think it’s important to know that this incident is totally inconsistent with Judge Sovis' character. . . He’s a very honorable man who has been humiliated by this incident, but he also knows, of course, that he has no one to blame but himself.[2][4]
Ayers noted Sovis also received treatment in a 33-day inpatient drug program.[2]


Sovis received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Minnesota in 1971 and 1972, respectively. He received his J.D. degree in 1975 from the Hamline University School of Law/Midwestern School of Law.[1]


  • 1988-2013: Judge, First District Court
  • 1982-1988: Adjunct professor, Hamline University
  • 1975-1988: Attorney, Private, practice[1]

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