A native Minnesotan, Justice Margaret Chutich grew up in Anoka, where her parents owned a hardware store on Main Street. She attended and graduated from Anoka Senior High School, where she became known for her tennis prowess, winning the Minnesota State High School League’s Girls Tennis Tournament her senior year.
Justice Chutich earned her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Minnesota. Prompted by her interest in the lives of her Croatian grandparents, who immigrated to Hibbing, she lived in Zagreb, Croatia for a year learning the Croatian language. Justice Chutich then attended the University of Michigan Law School, graduating with honors. She is a proud recipient of the 2017 Alumni of Notable Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts.
Justice Chutich’s legal career is notable for the breadth and variety of her experience. She began her legal career clerking for the Honorable Diana E. Murphy on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, before moving into private practice at the law firms of Tanick & Heins and Opperman Heins & Paquin (now Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP).
After five years of litigation in private practice, Justice Chutich began her long career in public service where she remains to this day. She first served in the Criminal Appellate Division of the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General where she discovered her love of appellate practice, appearing regularly before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Justice Chutich then prosecuted criminal cases as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota in its criminal division, before returning to serve as Deputy Attorney General for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office overseeing the Law Enforcement Section. While at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, she also represented the Department of Human Services in civil cases and administrative matters. Justice Chutich then took a position in academia, serving as Assistant Dean for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota for three years. Her diverse experience in the public and private sectors prepared her well for a position on the bench.
In 2012, Governor Dayton appointed Justice Chutich to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and she was elected to a six-year term in 2014. In March 2016, she was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Throughout her tenure on the bench, Justice Chutich has become known for her kind, approachable demeanor and her commitment to hear the concerns of every party who comes before her on appeal. She is a voice for equality and fairness.
Outside of the law, Justice Chutich has worked to promote the interests of Minnesotans. She is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA, a member of the Twin Cities Dunkers, and a long-time mentor for University of St. Thomas law students. As a former Division I tennis player for the University of Minnesota, Justice Chutich is a member of the University of Minnesota “M” Club, a lifetime member of the University of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics Advisory Committee, and an avid fan of the Golden Gophers.
Justice Chutich is married to Dr. Penny Wheeler, another life-long Minnesotan and proud graduate of the University of Minnesota (three times!). Their daughter, Olivia, is a college student. Justice Chutich enjoys playing tennis, golf, piano, paddleboarding, hiking, and reading.