Minnesota State Law Library
James Clarence Harten was born in Mankato on March 24th, 1935. He attended St. Olaf College, graduating in 1957 with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1957 and left in 1960 having attained the rank of Lieutenant. Judge Harten then attended Northwestern University School of Law, where he earned his law degree in 1964.
From 1964-1976, Judge Harten worked in private practice in Mankato. He served as County Attorney for Blue Earth County from 1967-1971. On December 6, 1976 he was appointed judge of Blue Earth County Court. After 11 years as a county court judge, he was appointed District Court Judge for Minnesota's Fifth Judicial District on September 8, 1987. On February 3, 1992, Judge Harten was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals by Governor Arne Carlson.
Judge Harten served on the Court of Appeals for 13 years before retiring on March 31, 2005 upon reaching the Court's mandatory retirement age of 70. In addition to his career as a judge and attorney, Judge Harten also taught Criminal Law and Procedure as a part-time faculty member at Mankato State University. He founded a nonprofit organization to fight against chemical abuse problems in the Mankato area and has chaired several charities. Judge Harten is married and has two children.
You may learn more about the life and work of Judge James C. Harten in the research resources linked in this guide, which are the sources of this brief biography.