Halverson said his candidacy rests in 30 years of experience and a reputation as a criminal defense lawyer that’s highly regarded among his peers. He noted that he’s been vetted extensively, both by members of the judiciary in St. Paul and local peers in the court system, before he was elevated to his current role through the judicial selection process.
“Every day that I come to work I make sure I’m prepared,” Halverson said. “I know what's going on with the cases on the calendar. People come into my courtroom, their concerns, issues and voices are important to me. … The most important quality is to let people know that they have a voice and they can be heard.”
Halverson noted he has more than 20 years of experience on Lindstrom, despite Lindstrom’s claims that Halverson lacks the right experience. Halverson also denounced Lindstrom’s accusations that he lacks the right demeanor for the bench, characterizing the Cass County attorney’s statements as hypocritical when Lindstrom’s campaign has been built on politically-charged, vitriolic mud-slinging from the beginning.
“It's interesting that he frames it that way,” Halverson said. “Just simply look at the tone and tenor of the discussion on his Facebook page, and I think you'll get a sense of demeanor. … His Facebook page speaks for itself. It's not for me to judge. The reality is judicial races are supposed to be nonpartisan. You can't talk about the issues. You're not supposed to take stands that would undercut your impartiality. If you compare his website to my website, and you look at what's there — it sends a clear message.”
In terms of Black Lives Matter and how racial issues factor in the justice system, Halverson said the judiciary must remain committed to its impartial role without caving into outside pressures, whatever those pressures may be. That being said, he noted that members of the justice system are mindful of the issues being debated in the national sphere.
“Voters need to know that the judiciary is aware of these issues,” said Halverson, who noted he’s a member of the Equal Justice Committee that advises the Minnesota Supreme Court. “One of the things that we need to look at, discuss, and attempt to implicate is ensuring that everybody has equal access to the court system, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin, or political affiliation. … There's a great deal of discussion that goes on internally about how to accommodate those needs for people who feel that they're denied access.”
Halverson, 59, was born and raised in Alexandria, where he graduated high school before moving on to the University of North Dakota for his undergraduate degree and the Mitchell Hamline School of Law for his law degree. He moved to Brainerd around 1988 to serve as a clerk in the 9th District Court, before embarking on a short stint in general practice and criminal law and working for five years as a manager of the public defender’s office that served both Crow Wing and Aitkin counties. It was around this time that he established his own office, Halverson Law, in which he specialized in criminal defense. He worked at his firm until he was appointed to the 9th District Court in 2018 by Gov. Mark Dayton. Halverson has been acclaimed as a criminal law specialist by 17,000 of his peers in the Minnesota Bar Association, an honor typically bestowed to less than 60 lawyers. Halverson and his wife, Julie, enjoy a blended family of two children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.
Posted on 21 Oct 2020, 07:02 - Category: In the News