Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Governor Dayton Appoints First Hmong-American Judge in Minnesota—MNAPABA Member Sophia Vuelo

Fri, December 01, 2017 5:05 PM | Benjamin Kwan (Administrator)

Governor Dayton Appoints First Hmong-American Judge in Minnesota—MNAPABA Member Sophia Vuelo 


ST. PAUL, MN – Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Sophia Vuelo as a District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Ms. Vuelo will replace the Honorable Margaret M. Marrinan, and will be chambered at St. Paul in Ramsey County.

“Ms. Sophia Vuelo has dedicated her career to pursuing justice for all Minnesotans, through her work with Minnesota courts, charities, and in her own private practice,” said Governor Dayton. “Ms. Vuelo’s commitment to public service has prepared her well for this important new role, as District Court Judge for Minnesota’s Second Judicial District.”

Minnesota’s Second Judicial District consists of Ramsey County.

More information on the Commission on Judicial Selection, as well as vacancies it is currently considering, can be found at http://mn.gov/governor/appointments/judicial-appointments/.

About Sophia Y. Vuelo:

Ms. Vuelo is a solo practitioner at Vuelo Law, where she manages a high volume caseload in juvenile protection, family, and criminal matters. Previously, she was a Special Assistant Ramsey County Attorney, Assistant Public Defender in the Second Judicial District, Assistant Rochester City Attorney, and Managing Attorney at Catholic Charities. Ms. Vuelo received her BA from the University of Minnesota and her JD from Hamline University School of Law.

She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Collaborative Community Law Initiative, an active volunteer at Weaver Elementary School in Maplewood, and the former Vice-President of the Hmong American Bar Association.

Ms. Vuelo will be the first judge of Hmong descent to serve in Minnesota, and the second to be appointed in the nation.

About MNAPABA's Efforts to Increase Diversity on the Bench

MNAPABA's Judicial Selection Committee works all year long to promote diversity and inclusion on the state and federal bench in Minnesota. 

Since its inception less than five years ago, the MNAPABA Judicial Selection Committee has helped dozens of MNAPABA members and allies through both the state and federal judicial application processes and seen four appointed to the bench. 

With Mr. Vuelo's appointment by Governor Dayton this week, MNAPABA counts eleven state or federal APA judges active with MNAPABA within the state of Minnesota currently on active or senior status. This number has more than doubled in the past three years. 

MNAPABA's Judicial Selection Committee is led by Irene Kao and the Honorable Nicole J. Starr.


Mailing Address:
MNAPABA c/o Minnesota State Bar Association
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380, Minneapolis, MN 55402
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