Gov. Dayton appoints Wentzell

Michael D. Wentzell
Michael D. Wentzell

Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Mr. Michael D. Wentzell as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s First Judicial District on Wednesday, Dec. 12. Wentzell will be replacing the Honorable Phillip T. Kanning, who retired earlier this year. The judgeship will be chambered at Chaska in Carver County.
“Michael Wentzell is an accomplished attorney and an exemplary public servant,” Dayton said. “Mr. Wentzell’s commitment to justice, ethics, and service make him the ideal candidate to serve the First District. I am confident he will carry out the responsibilities of this new role with honor and distinction.”
Wentzell serves as Chief Deputy Carver County Attorney, where he oversees office operations in relation to directing criminal, civil, and juvenile legal services. He previously worked as an Assistant Carver County Attorney and as an Associate Attorney with the law firm of Collins, Buckley, Sauntry, & Haugh, where he engaged in the general practice of law, including extensive work in family law. Wentzell received his B.A. with highest honors from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and received his J.D. with honors from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Additionally, Wentzell is actively involved with the Sexual Assault Interagency Council, Carver County Justice Advisory Council, Chaska Rotary Club, and is a former Professional Responsibility Ethics Investigator.
“I am honored and humbled by this appointment,” Wentzell said. “I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Carver County and the First Judicial District in my new role as Judge. Carver County is a special place to live and practice law. There is a tremendous environment of cooperation and collaboration between all of the justice partners. I am thankful for the support of the Carver County Attorney’s Office, the District Court Judges, Court Administration, law enforcement, the defense bar, County Commissioners and Administration, and all of my other friends and colleagues at the Carver County Government Center.”
Carver County Attorney Mark Metz offered his congratulations to Wentzell.
“In my opinion, the Governor could not have chosen a more solid person as judge — an honest, compassionate and humble person, a highly skilled attorney, someone with impeccably good judgment, common sense and impartiality, and someone with a tremendous sense of justice,” Metz said. “The County Attorney’s Office is proud of Mike for his contributions and we know he will be an outstanding judge.”
Minnesota’s First Judicial District consists of Carver, Dakota, Goodhue, LeSueur, McLeod, Scott, and Sibley Counties.
More information on the Commission on Judicial Selection, as well as vacancies it is currently considering, can be found at