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Hennepin judge committee votes to support Burke

The Hennepin County Bench Executive Committee last week adopted a resolution supporting Judge Kevin Burke in his appointment of Judge Robert Blaeser as the chief judge of the Juvenile Court.

Controversy has surrounded the personnel move by Burke, who will become chief judge of the 4th Judicial District on July 1. Some leaders in the black community are upset that the current Chief Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Alexander — who is black — is being rotated out of the post. Two weeks ago, a demonstration in support of Alexander was held in front of the Hennepin County Government Center. (Alexander, who has served as Juvenile Court chief for two years, has expressed a preference to remain in the post.)

Burke has denied that there is any racial component to the decision, pointing out that the last two Juvenile Court chiefs have been rotated out of the position after two years. Burke has also pointed to the fact that Alexander’s appointed successor is American Indian.

The resolution, which was introduced by Hennepin District Court Judge Myron Greenberg, states: “The Executive Committee of the Hennepin County District Court expresses its enthusiastic support for Chief-Judge-elect Kevin Burke. We applaud his efforts and accomplishments that benefit the entire community, including all minority components. In that spirit, we strongly endorse Judge Burke’s appointment of Judge Robert Blaeser as presiding judge of Juvenile Court.”

The resolution further provides that “the disparagement of Judge Burke is unjustified, baseless and offensive considering his accomplishments and positive leadership on behalf of equal justice for all segments of our community, and African-American community in particular.”

The resolution concludes by urging Burke to reject any demands for his resignation as chief judge.

Ninth District judicial vacancies announced

The Commission on Judicial Selection last week announced two 9th Judicial District trial bench vacancies. One judgeship will be chambered in the city of Crookston in Polk County, and the other in the city of Warren in Marshall County.

Anyone learned in the law who is a resident of the Ninth District may request an application for either or both positions by calling John Hultquist at 651-296-0019, via e-mail at [email protected] or by writing: George W. Soule, Chair, Commission on Judicial Selection, 130 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN 55155.

All candidates for these vacancies must submit an application. Applications and letters of recommendation must be submitted no later than Thursday, July 6, 2000.

Applicants are asked not to contact the Commission members individually, as the nine at-large members and the four district members will conduct interviews at a later date.

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