John Baker is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Studies at St. Cloud State University (SCSU). He teaches criminal procedure and criminal law to undergraduate and graduate students and is the Professional Peace Officer Coordinator (PPOE) and a Pre-Law Advisor for SCSU. He has a Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law (now Mitchell Hamline School of Law) and graduated in three years magna cum laude from St. Cloud State University in 1999.
John spent 10 years in private practice as a Partner in the Baker Williams Law Firm (also known as the GunnyLawyer). He represented clients in Minnesota State and Federal Courts on all levels of criminal charges. He frequently represented service members, veterans and first responders in criminal and related cases.
In 2010, John was recognized as a Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year. He received this award for his work in chairing the initiative to start Veterans Courts in Minnesota. John is a frequent speaker and contributor to the media on veterans in the criminal justice system. John has assisted various jurisdictions and States around the country in setting up their veteran courts.
John has travelled the country since 2011 co-teaching the class “De-Escalation Strategies for Military Veterans in Crisis” to law enforcement agencies through the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute. He also co-teaches a class called “De-escalation Strategies for Persons with Mental Illness or Behavioral Disorders in Crisis.” He is an experienced instructor and CLE presenter.
For the second year in a row, John has travelled to Washington, D.C. in June as part of the Minnesota Delegation for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. He helped lobby Congress on the need for foreign aid and development highlighting his experiences in the military as why we need a strong State Department. John is a member of the USGLC State Advisory Committee.
In 2017, The Minnesota Humanities Center selected John as a Visiting Scholar for their Echoes of War program. John talked about World War I and his grandfather’s experiences fighting in France. As part of this, John is working on a book called “My Grandfather’s Deck of Cards,” which highlights the travels of his grandfather during the war. John will be connecting these experiences to his own as a U.S. Marine as well as the experiences of his father who served as a Marine during the Korean War.
John also teaches Ethics to undergraduate students in the Business degree program at Rasmussen College. He has also been teaching continuing education classes at Century College.
John retired from the United States Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant after serving twenty-two years in various infantry, artillery and administrative capacities in numerous locations within the United States and around the world. John deployed multiple times to high conflict areas around the world during his military career.
John is Chair Emeritus of the Minnesota State Bar Association Military & Veterans Affairs Section, where he started the section. He is also a member of the Military Action Group (MAG) at the legislature and has been active in writing and getting legislation passed to benefit veterans and service members in Minnesota. John is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and is a member of the American Legion Post 39. John is Vice President of Endurance United, a St. Paul nonprofit dedicated to getting people outdoors in an active and healthy lifestyle through cross-country skiing and other silent sports. John trains year-round for his annual pilgrimage to Hayward, Wisconsin to ski in the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race.
In August 2017, he rode his bicycle from Minneapolis to Chicago as part of Project Hero UnitedHealthCare Great Lakes Challenge.