Judge Mark Wernick

Hennepin County
District Court


1985 to present – For 25 years, Judge Mark Wernick has served on the Sabathani Community Center Board of Directors. Sabathani owns the former Bryant Junior High School building in south Minneapolis. The organization has two primary functions. First, Sabathani provides social services and developmental programs for children, adults, and seniors living in south Minneapolis. Second, Sabathani is a landlord for non-profit organizations serving south Minneapolis. As a member of the Board, Judge Wernick has served the organization in the following ways:

• Board Secretary and Executive Committee member for 14 years;

• Restructured and drafted portions of the by-laws, and worked with an outside labor lawyer to draft the employee handbook;

• Attendance at Board and committee meetings among the highest of any Board member.

1989 – In early 1989, the Minneapolis City Council appointed Judge Mark Wernick as Chair of the Minneapolis Civilian Review Working Committee. The Committee’s charge was to develop a model of civilian review of police misconduct allegations. Judge Wernick led the Committee in the following ways:

• Conducted a national literature review regarding civilian review of police misconduct and studied all available data and reports regarding the operation of the Minneapolis Police Department Internal Affairs Unit;

• Drafted a legal memorandum for the Committee which addressed government data practices, labor law, and Fifth Amendment issues;

• Drafted the Executive Summary of the Committee’s final report. The Executive Summary became the model for the first Minneapolis civilian review ordinance.

1997-2002 – From 1997 until his appointment to the bench, Judge Mark Wernick served on the Legal Rights Center Board of Directors. Legal Rights Center provides criminal defense and related services to minority communities in south Minneapolis. Judge Wernick served the organization in the following ways:

• Board President for 2 years;

• Directed strategic planning sessions resulting in an increased focus on restorative justice programs for juvenile offenders;

• Raised funds by speaking to law firms, United Way, and state legislators.