Minnesota State Law Library
Roger Mathias Klaphake was born in Richmond, Minnesota on June 16, 1942. He graduated from St. Cloud State University in 1963 and earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1966. He began his legal career in 1964, working as an intern in the law office of Roger Nierengarten. More than 20 years later, Judge Klaphake would succeed Judge Nierengarten on the Minnesota Court of Appeals when Judge Nierengarten retired.
After graduating from law school, Judge Klaphake entered private practice as an associate at the Roger Nierengarten Law Office in St. Cloud. In 1968 he left to start the firm of Rinke, Klaphake & Noonan, Ltd. From 1966 to 1972 he served as Assistant Stearns County Attorney and he also served as Sauk Rapids City Attorney from 1970-1974. In 1974 he left private practice and became a Judicial Officer of the Stearns, Benton, and Sherburne County court system. The following year he was appointed as a trial judge for the Tri-County court. After eight years as a County Court Judge, he was appointed to the 7th District bench by Governor Rudy Perpich on April 12, 1983. Judge Klaphake served on the 7th District Court, including time spent serving as Assistant Chief Judge, until he was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on October 1, 1989 by Governor Perpich.
After his appointment, Judge Klaphake was re-elected to his seat on the Court of Appeals in 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008. He represented the Court of Appeals on the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission from May 1994 to March 2001. On June 30, 2012, Judge Klaphake retired from active status after 23 years on the Court of Appeals. He continues to serve on the Court as a Senior Judge.
Judge Klaphake is married and has four children. He is an adjunct instructor in Criminal Justice at St. Cloud State University. He has also played in several jazz bands on saxophone and clarinet.
You may read more about the life and work of Judge Roger M. Klaphake in the research resources linked in this guide, which are the sources of this brief biography.