Hon. Mark Kappelhoff

District Court Judge, Minnesota District Court


  • St. John's University, B.S.
  • American University, Washington College of Law, J.D.


  • Civil Rights
  • Clinical Legal Education
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Federal Criminal Prosecution
Show all

Mark Kappelhoff is a district court judge in the Fourth Judicial District in Hennepin County, Minnesota. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was an Associate Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School where he directed the Criminal Justice Clinic, directed the Minnesota Law Public Interest Residency Program, and taught a seminar course on Human Trafficking.

Judge Kappelhoff spent nearly two decades as a federal prosecutor in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he prosecuted human trafficking, police misconduct, and hate crime cases. He also served in a number of senior leadership positions, including Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Criminal Section. Among his responsibilities, he oversaw the Department’s investigation in Ferguson, Missouri and other police departments around the country. He also played an instrumental role in the Department’s efforts to secure passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, co-chaired the Attorney General’s Advisory Group on racial disparities in federal sentencing, and created the Civil Rights Division’s groundbreaking Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Human Trafficking

Journal Articles

Federal Prosecution of Human Trafficking Cases: Striking a Blow Against Modern Day Slavery, 6 University of St. Thomas Law Journal 9 (2008)
Bowers v. Hardwick: Is There a Right to Privacy?, 37 American University Law Review 487 (1988) (note)

Editorials, Commentary & Letters

Bringing Human Trafficking to Justice: The Civil Rights Division's Pursuit of Freedom, Rights, and Dignity For Victims of Human Trafficking, Huffington Post, Feb. 1, 2015 (op-ed)
Yes, We've Come a Long Way, but America's Civil-rights Journey Remains Incomplete, MinnPost, Nov. 1, 2013 (op-ed)
Juvenile Crime Drops, Experts Backpedal, and Public Policy Pays the Price, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, June 9, 1997 (op-ed)
Treat Troubled Teens as Children, Not as Adult Criminals, Miami Herald, May 23, 1997 (op-ed)
Experts Were Wrong About Juvenile Crime, San Jose Mercury News, May 4, 1997
Shame Punishments Do Not Belong in a Civilized Society, Plano Star Courier, Jan. 19, 1997

Other Publications

Selected Issues in Criminal Civil Rights Enforcement, 56:5 United States Attorneys' Bulletin 37 (Sept. 2008)