Veterans Defense Project Staff

Executive Director: Donn Lindstrom

Donn Lindstrom is a Navy Veteran from the late 70’s. He had a long and accomplished sales and management career, mainly in the Tech Industry. When the last recession hit he decided it was time for a change. He enrolled in school and earned an Associate’s Degree in Management and Marketing from Inver Hills Community College and then went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from St Mary’s University. He did this in a period of 27 months. Along the way he decided that he would take his vast life experience and now, formal education and commit to a career of helping his fellow veterans. He took an entry level job at VAMC Minneapolis and learned an enormous amount about the business of serving veterans. He again went back to school earning two Masters Degrees from Hamline University, One in Public Administration and one in Non-Profit Management. In February 2014, he joined the staff at Ramsey County Veterans Services taking on a dual role as office assistant and Veterans Court Mentor Coordinator. He has lead the effort of developing the team from the ground up. Recruiting, training and administrating what is considered to be the gold standard of mentor groups in the state. He continues his work with the Ramsey County Team and now also with the VDP team as Executive Director.

Veterans Defense Project Staff

President: Brock Hunter

Brock Hunter is a private criminal defense lawyer, based in Minneapolis.  He has served as President and Legislative Chair for the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) and received their Special Achievement Award in 2009.  Additionally, he has received the Minnesota State Bar Association’s 2011 Professional Excellence Award, its highest honor. Brock is also former Army scout, and is nationally recognized for his work on behalf of troubled veterans in the criminal justice system.  He drafted and led passage of Minnesota’s pioneering veterans’ sentencing legislation, which has since been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case, Porter v. McCollum, 130 S. Ct. 447, at 455, n.9 (2009), the first time our highest court addressed combat trauma in criminal sentencing.  Brock and his team recently won a not guilty by reason of mental illness verdict in State v. Minissale, a murder case involving a mentally ill young Afghan war veteran, the first such jury verdict in Minnesota since the 1970s and the second such verdict in the country, involving an veteran of our current conflicts. Brock is also the co-founder and President of the Veterans Defense Project (VDP) and is the lead editor and co-author of the treatise, Defending Veterans in Criminal Court.  The VDP recently received a grant from the State of Minnesota to organize and train a state-wide system of Veterans Courts, the first of its kind in the nation.

Veterans Defense Project Staff

Research, Writing and Curriculum Development Attorney: Ryan Else

Ryan Else is a criminal defense attorney and veteran. Ryan served in the Army National Guard, in the historic 2/135 Infantry Battalion of the 34th Infantry Division, “Red Bulls,” from 1998 to 2006, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He was deployed to Kosovo in 2003 and 2004. Ryan went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from American University in Washington D.C. with a B.S. in International Relations. In May 2011, he graduated from the University of St. Thomas School of Law where he served as President of the Military Law Society.  Along with Brock Hunter, Ryan was co-author and co-editor of The Attorneys Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court and co-founder of the Veterans Defense Project.