The Commission on Judicial Selection today recommended five candidates to fill two vacancies in the 7th Judicial District.
These vacancies were created upon the retirement of the Judge Peter M. Irvine and the resignation of the Judge Lisa N. Borgen. Judge Irvine’s seat will be chambered at Long Prairie in Todd County and Judge Borgen’s seat will be chambered at Moorhead in Clay County.
Daniel Benson is a member of the criminal defense firm of Benson Law Office and is a MSBA Board Certified Criminal Law Specialist. Benson also serves as a part-time Assistant Public Defender for the 7th Judicial District, a panel member of the Criminal Justice Act Federal Defender Panel, and a member of the Public Defender DNA Working Group. Previously, he was a member of the Minnesota State Forensic Trial Team, a managing attorney with the Office of the 7th Judicial District Public Defender, and an assistant Stearns County Attorney.
Heather Brandborg is an assistant Otter Tail County Attorney, where her responsibilities include adult criminal prosecution and civil matters, including civil commitments, child support and human services matters. She was also a founding member of the Otter Tail County DWI Court and previously served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Sally I. Robertson. Brandborg currently is a member of the Otter Tail Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Task Force and volunteers as a Mock Trial Judge for the Minnesota State Bar Association.
Michelle Clark is an assistant Douglas County Attorney, where her caseload consists of tax appeals, child support and paternity related actions, guardianship/conservatorship, misdemeanors and juvenile matters. She previously was an attorney at the law firm of Tillitt, McCarten, Johnson & Haseman, practicing in family law, criminal law, real estate and township matters. Clark currently serves on the Domestic Violence Taskforce and the Legal Office Advisory Committee for Alexandria Technical and Community College.
Michael Fritz serves as the Becker County Attorney, where he represents the Board of Commissioners and various departments for Becker County and maintains a caseload of criminal and child protection matters. He previously served as the assistant Becker County Attorney and was a partner with Hummel, Sinclair, Evans, Hunt, Heisler and Fritz, practicing in estate planning, municipal and employment matters. Fritz is a past president of the Becker County Bar Association.
Brian Melton serves as the Clay County Attorney, where he manages the Clay County Attorney’s Office and maintains a caseload consisting of serious felonies, forfeiture actions and civil commitments. He previously was an assistant Clay County Attorney and judicial law clerk for Judge John Pearson. Melton is a Lieutenant Colonel-Deputy Commander in the Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Brigade and serves on the Board of Directors of the Clay County Attorney Association.
Minnesota’s 7th District consists of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties. Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to make the appointments in the comings weeks.