Edward S. Wilson '70

2005 Distinguished Citizen Award

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For 31 years, Edward Wilson has worked diligently for equal justice. He began his legal career as a lawyer for the indigent at the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, then worked at the Neighborhood Justice Center, a small, community-based criminal defense office. Since 1987 he has been a Ramsey County District Court judge; for the last 10 years, he has had the especially heavy responsibility of hearing only criminal cases.

"Ed Wilson is a quiet, unassuming judge who is a legal giant in our community," wrote his fellow judge, Michael J. Davis ’69 of the U.S. District Court in Minnesota. "He truly believes in the phrase ‘equal justice under the law.’ As a judge, Ed has been actively involved in bringing about the restorative justice methods to sentence defendants in Ramsey County. He has committed innumerable hours to community service regarding the criminal justice system in our society. I know him to be an outstanding judge and legal scholar."

Wilson was one of four Minnesota judges who spent a year serving as an international judge in Kosovo. Under the United Nations Mission, they were charged with helping to re-establish the rule of law in a country torn by war and ethnic hatred. From December 2002 to December 2003, he presided over cases involving ethnic and political violence, organized crime and war crimes in Prizren, Kosovo’s second-largest city. Besides delivering impartial justice, Wilson and his colleagues served as mentors in Kosovo, opening people’s eyes to a different way of doing things.

For their work in Kosovo, he and his Minnesota colleagues were named "Judges of the Year" by the state chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.