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Donovan Frank

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Donovan Frank
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Minnesota
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #3
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   10/22/1998 - Present
Preceded by:   David Doty
Personal History
Born:   1951
Hometown:   Rochester, MN
Undergraduate:   Luther College, B.A., 1973
Law School:   Hamline U. School of Law, J.D., 1977

Donovan Frank is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. He joined the court in 1998 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.[1]


Frank graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with his bachelor's degree in 1973 and later graduated from the Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.[1]

Professional career

Frank started his legal career as an assistant county attorney for the St. Louis County Attorney's Office from 1977 to 1985. In 1985, Frank was elected to the Minnesota Sixth Judicial District, where he served from 1985 to 1998. While on the court, Frank served as the Assistant Chief Judge from 1988 to 1991 and Chief Judge from 1991 to 1996.[1]

Judicial career

District of Minnesota

On the recommendation of Senators Paul Wellstone and Mark Dayton, Frank was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 21, 1998, to a seat vacated by Judge David Doty as Doty went on senior status. Frank was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 21, 1998, and received commission on October 22, 1998.[2]

Notable cases

Campaign finance provisions (2014)

     United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (Seaton et al v. Wiener et al, Civil No. 14-1016 (DWF/JSM))

On May 19, 2014, Frank struck down a Minnesota campaign finance provision prohibiting candidates from receiving large contributions after having already received a certain number of large contributions. For example, under the law in question, the first 12 donors to a state legislative candidate could contribute up to $1,000, but subsequent donors could only contribute a maximum of $500. With Frank's ruling, this prohibition no longer applies.[3][4]

DUI tester code case (2009)

     United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (State et al v. CMI OF KENTUCKY, INC., Civil No. 08-603 (DWF/AJB))

On July 16, 2009, Judge Donovan Frank certified a settlement that gave the state of Minnesota and criminal defendants access to a digital code that runs the breath-test device for suspected drunken drivers.[5]

Attorneys for the State of Minnesota and CMI, a company that manufactures the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, pushed for approval of the settlement at a hearing Judge Frank conducted in June of 2009. Defense attorneys in Minnesota opposed the settlement by claiming it can hurt defendants in drunk driving cases.[5]

Judge Frank also stated in his ruling: "The State may move forward with prosecution of DWI offenses and revocation proceedings using the Intoxilyzer and defendants will have reasonable andunprecedented access to the source code used for the Intoxilyzer, while CMI'sintellectual property rights are protected."[5]
Defense lawyers expressed concern that Judge Frank's ruling would force attorneys to spend more time and money to determine whether the device contained errors and provided faulty readings.[5]
In an April 2009 ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court ordered that the Intoxilyzer source code should be handed over to defendants. However, the code Intoxilyzer source code was not issued to any defendants until a settlement in the federal case was approved. From the April Supreme Court ruling to the July settlement, some drunk driving cases were dismissed in Minnesota.[5]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
David Doty
District of Minnesota
Seat #3
Succeeded by:

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