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Thomas Canty, Associate Justice 1894-1899

Thomas Canty

Portrait of Justice Thomas Canty

 

Justice Canty wrote the opinion for the last capital punishment case to reach the high court, affirming the case of State v. Hayward (Minn. 1895). 

 

Thomas Canty was born in London, England, April 24, 1854 and moved to Detroit, Michigan with his family in 1856. He was educated in the public schools and later spent four years as a teacher in Texas. He came to Minnesota in 1880 and was admitted to practice of law in 1881. Shortly thereafter he was elected District Judge of Hennepin County where he served for 3 years. He was elected Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court for a term beginning January 1, 1894, where he served one full six-year term.

Canty's six years on the Supreme Court yielded 575 opinions and 58 dissents.  He wrote the opinion for the last capital punishment case to reach the high court, affirming the case of State v. Hayward, 62 Minn. 474, 65 N.W. 63 (1895).  He was defeated in the 1899 election however, and served only one term.  Canty died in Brazil in 1920.

 

Image Credit: Portrait of Justice Thomas Canty from Hiram F. Stevens's History of the Bench and Bar of Minnesota (Minneapolis and St. Paul: Legal Publishing & Engraving Co.,1904)