May 10, 2024

Contact: Claire Lancaster


Governor Walz Appoints Veena Iyer and Jennifer Verdeja to Fill Second Judicial District Vacancies


[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced the appointments of Veena Iyer and Jennifer Verdeja as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Second Judicial District. Iyer will be replacing the Honorable JaPaul J. Harris and Verdeja will be replacing the Honorable Elena L. Ostby. These seats will be chambered in St. Paul in Ramsey County. 

“I am honored to appoint Veena Iyer to the Ramsey County bench,” said Governor Walz.
“Her diverse practice background and understanding of the impact that
our justice system has on the many communities it serves gives me the
confidence that she will be a fair and balanced judge.” 

“I am also pleased to appoint Jennifer Verdeja,” said Governor Walz. “Her
decades of trial and courtroom experience, combined with her passion
for serving her community, will make her a great addition to the Ramsey
County bench.”

Minnesota’s Second Judicial District encompasses Ramsey County.  

About Veena Iyer: 

Veena Iyer is the executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. She was previously a shareholder at Nilan Johnson Lewis and an Equal Justice Works fellow at Legal Aid Chicago. Iyer was also a law clerk for the Honorable Natalie Hudson on the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Honorable Susan Burke on the Fourth Judicial District, and the Honorable Matthew Kennelly on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Her community involvement includes leadership roles with the Minnesota Asian Pacific American Bar Association and Minnesota Women Lawyers. Iyer also serves on the Board of Regents of Augsburg University and the Community Advisory Board of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago and J.D. from Harvard Law School.

About Jennifer Verdeja: 

Jennifer Verdeja is an assistant director of the Trial and Pretrial Justice Division in the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, where she supervises felony adult trial attorneys. She was previously an assistant public defender in the Second Judicial District and a community corrections worker for Ramsey County. Verdeja has served on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force and the Second District Ethics Committee. Her community involvement includes serving as a judge for the Urban Debate League, a volunteer with the Cretin-Derham Hall Parents’ Association, and a youth coach in St. Paul. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law. 

For more information about the judicial selection process, please visit the Governor’s Judicial Appointments webpage