Here’s who’s running in Minnesota’s four contested district court judge elections.
Always, always flip your ballot.
Ever arrive at your polling place, get your ballot and find a race or two you hadn’t studied up on?
If so, there’s a good chance that race was for a judge. Many Minnesotans forget judges are elected in the state, except on the occasions they’re asked to vote for them.
When there’s a vacancy on one of Minnesota’s judicial benches, the governor appoints someone to fill the position.
By custom, the governor chooses district court appointees who have been vetted by the state’s Commission on Judicial Selection, a panel of attorneys and non-attorneys from each of the state’s 10 judicial districts that evaluates candidates based on their “integrity, maturity, health if job related, judicial temperament, diligence, legal knowledge, ability and experience, and community service.”
Once appointed, though, the judge is required to stand for re-election in the next general election held more than a year after their swearing in, and then every six years after that. Unlike your typical partisan contest, judges both officially and customarily don’t run under a party banner. On the ballot, there’s no “Republican” or “Democratic Farmer-Labor” next to candidates’ names, only “incumbent” next to the name of the person seeking to reclaim their seat.
District 9, Court 4
(On the ballot in Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties)
Incumbent: Judge Charles Halverson (Appointed in 2018)
Background: Halverson has clerked in the Ninth Judicial District, worked in private practice at Borden, Steinbauer and Krueger and at Halverson Law Office, and was the assistant and managing attorney in the Ninth District public defender’s office before being appointed to the bench in 2018.
What are the most important qualities a judge should possess?
Halverson: “A judge needs to be a good listener. A judge needs to [be] able to filter through and get to what’s really the underlying issue in most cases. And a lot of what we deal with are people who don’t have attorneys, so it’s sometimes more difficult to really wade through it, find out what really the issue is. To be able to make a decision consistent with the law, and be able to convey what you decide so that people understand how and why you got there. Most people, if they understand part of the reason why the decision you make and how it’s supported by the law are far more willing to accept it. But you make people feel as comfortable as you can in your courtroom. You let them know that their issues, their voice matters, and you give them an opportunity to be heard.”
Why should a voter cast their ballot for you versus your opponent?
“I have about 20 more years experience than my opponent. I believe that I am more qualified in terms of my experience. I believe I’m more qualified in the depth of my experience. My opponent has only worked as a public defender and a prosecutor, and most of that time as a prosecutor. He really doesn’t have clients … I’ve had a long-term connection with a lot of people; have helped people, so I understand where people are at. And I understand when people can get into trouble [and] sometimes what can help get them out. And I’ve worked in family cases, I’ve done civil work, I’ve done child protection work. He can’t claim that he has anywhere close to that level of experience.”
Endorsements: Halverson’s campaign committee website includes testimonials by law school classmate Rep. Tom Emmer (R), former Minnesota Rep. John Ward (DFL) and retired district court judge John Solien. He was endorsed by the Academy of Certified Trial Lawyers of Minnesota.
Posted on 26 Oct 2020, 21:07 - Category: In the News