Former Hennepin District Judge Tony N. Leung is now a U.S. magistrate judge for Minnesota.

Leung was the first Asian-American judge in Minnesota, appointed to the state court in 1994. He becomes the first Asian-Pacific American to serve on the federal bench in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Leung took the oath of office in the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis on April 29. He was appointed by Chief Judge Michael Davis and his colleagues on the federal bench.

Leung, who came to the United States from Hong Kong as a boy in 1966, was named to the state court by former Gov. Arne Carlson.

At the time Leung was appointed to the state court, he talked about why he wanted to become a judge.

"I looked at it as, 35 years from now when I look back on what I've accomplished in my life, I want to say I've contributed as directly as I could while working to fulfill the needs of my family," he said in 1994.

"In the big scheme of things, I'm just one part of a whole system intended to run this society in an orderly fashion."

As a state court judge, he presided over murders and assaults, personal-injury lawsuits and rapes.

Prior to his elevation to the Hennepin County bench, he was an equity partner at the local law firm Faegre & Benson. Leung received his law degree from New York University School of Law and his bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University, where he earned cum laude honors.

Leung also has earned an International Exchange Diploma from Beijing University.

Federal magistrate judges are recommended by a citizens merit screening committee.

They are appointed by the judges of the U.S. District Court for eight years and can be reappointed to successive terms.

Leung will join Chief Magistrate Judge Boylan and fellow magistrate judges Noel, Mayeron, Graham, Keyes, Brisbois, Rau and Klein. He will work out of the federal courthouse in St. Paul.

James Walsh • 612-673-7428