MN Court of Appeals Rejects Albert Lea Business Owner’s Request to Have Judge Removed from Her Criminal Case

A Freeborn County Restaurant Owner has lost her bid to remove the judge in her criminal case for allegedly violating the state’s Covid safety rules.


Melissa Hanson, of Hayward, was charged with seven misdemeanor violations of emergency orders and one misdemeanor count of public nuisance.


Authorities says Hanson opened her business, “The Interchange Wine and Coffee Bistro” in Albert Lea, despite the coronavirus restrictions ordered by Governor Tim Walz.


Hanson was arrested on those charges back in April.


She then filed a motion to have the judge presiding over the case replaced.


Court records state Hanson claimed the judge violated her due process rights, should have dismissed the charges against her over lack of jurisdiction and that the judge is a defendant in a civil lawsuit Hanson has filed over Minnesota’s Covid restrictions.


The Minnesota Court of Appeals has since rejected Hanson’s attempt to have her judge replaced, stating “Petitioner’s claims of impartiality are really dissatisfaction or disagreement with the judge’s decisions.”