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Once defeated judge wants his job back

As I was perusing through the judicial candidate filings a little while ago, I stumbled across one that I think is particularly interesting.

It appears that former 9th District Judge Terrance Holter (at right) wants his job back — or at least wants the job back.

Four years ago Holter, who’d been on the bench in northwestern Minnesota for 26 years, was defeated in his re-election bid by his former law clerk, John Melbye. Yesterday, Holter filed to run against incumbent 9th District Judge Paul Rasmussen, who’s been on the bench since he was elected in 1992. Rasmussen is currently chambered in Bagley, which is less than 30 miles from Holter’s former chambers in Bemidji. (Notably, Judge Paul Benshoof — who is chambered in Bemidji — is currently up for re-election as well, but Holter didn’t shoot for that spot.)

Following his defeat in 2006, Holter didn’t go away quietly. He applied to then Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Russell Anderson to sit on cases by designation as a “retired judge.” When Anderson denied the request, Holter was pretty upset. (Click here for the City Pages article.) When Eric Magnuson took over as chief in 2008, he indicated that he too followed the policy of other chief justices, which has been not to appoint judges who have lost elections to serve as retired judges.

Holter, who is 65 or 66, would not be able to complete a full term if he succeeds in his bid for Rasmussen’s seat. But if he gets back on the bench through an election, he just might be able to serve as a retired judge when he is forced to leave at age 70.

Obviously I don’t know Holter’s motivation for seeking Rasmussen’s seat.  Perhaps he wants a bigger pension? Perhaps he just misses the job? Perhaps he wants to be colleagues with his former law-clerk-turned judge?

What I do know is that this is going to be an interesting race to watch.

(I attempted to contact Holter at the number on his filing papers, but the phone just rang and I was unable to leave a message. I sent him an e-mail as well, and will let you know if I hear back.)

Update: I just talked to Holter. He indicated that he’s running for judge again primarily because he wasn’t ready to retire four years ago when he lost his seat to Melbye. He said he chose to run against Rasmussen because lawyers and other people in the area encouraged him to do so. Holter said he worked closely with Benshoof when he was on the bench and would not have felt right running against him. When asked what he’s been doing for the past four years, Holter responded that he’s been mostly retired, but that he’s also done some legal services work through the local legal aid office.


  1. bemidji judge who only cares if hes in the satutes and guidelines and he will not listen to reason which is why my kids sit in a limbo were bemidji human services will not protect my kids from what thier mother exposes the to when she moved them to pennema .MY KIDS ARE INDIAN AND GET TREATED LIKE THIER NOT BY RED LAKERS.and when a full grown man twists my daughters arm i can report the abuse to officies both on the reservation and off the reservation and bemidji wont touch it and red lake has nepatisam to pretect him working right in thier own office. so it seems these bemidji judges who would never take the time to listen to my side in cases have made it so my kids are almost not even american citezens becuase in a civil case judges in bemidji dont really listen its just give them to the mom according to guidelines and stipulations. that is of course unless i had the money to pay a lawyer to use legal rhetoric .and dont let me start on the lawyers in this town basically they only care about money nothing else

  2. i am sorry judge holter for what was written as i have found that things can get worst when you go to court and the judge is sherri schlecter . as i found out that she has no common sense in her decisions which can be proven in the order of change of custody she wrote just recently .in one part she write how she removed my 15 year old son from his moms house because the drug use and argueing was a endangerment to my sons health ,and then in another she goes on to say she was leaving my 12 year old daughter to live in that house of her mothers in penemah .This even after the gardium en litum recomended on all reports that both kids stay together and that they were very close ,and this is the case . she did not let my daughter have a say even though the president my lawyer used was based on a 12 year old in my sons case .and isnt it true that girls are mutue faster than boys . i say this because that president i speak of is based on a 12 year old boy .other facts that ment nothing to judge sherri s. are when my ex states that she sees nothing wrong with her drug use and continues to and will continue to use this drug. also when i state that the red lake police lie and are bias and one shows up in court to lie against me there is noone asking for proof of what harlen johnsen ,red lake police officer , testafies to . another thing is when the fat split tounge lawyer frank bebow tells the judge that my daughter can learn her culture in red lake better than from me ,the judge ignores the fact that i’m from a reservation in north dakota (the turtle moutain band of chippewae ) and we just happen to be a group of natives that the red lake indians look down on the most even more so than the souix who the ojibwea fought throught history .and then for no reason at all going into the trial i had atleast 30% legal and other custody .coming out i had 0% and have less visitation than when i started .i did encounter judge melbye on the way to sheri schlecters court and found him to have the best intrest of the children in mind and he did what he was able to useing common sense and clear judgement. but sherri allowed a tribal lawyer to dictate what her decision was and forced her to ignore her own employee the gardium en litum . now my kids are separated for 2 weeks at a time and look forward to those few days they get together every other weekend because “thats the way it works up here in indian country” as i keep hearing from native and non-native sides of the law here and i find that the country and state i spent 2 tours of duty in both the first and last gulf war fighting for the rights we hold on to ,i learn in sherri schlecters of the 9th district that those rights dont include my kids or me .because my daughter can be held like a hostage on red lake a sovern nation were they dont have her health and well being protected .its like her and my ex go to canada for 2 weeks at a time .whos rights did i serve for because my son dauhter and i are not included .i think sherri dosent think my kids should have a fair chance at life so lets send my daughter to the 3rd world country of red lake to live with the high statistics of crimes against woman .and as far as my son goes since court ended his mom has ignored him for close to a year now and nothing for his birthday or xmas no hi how are you nothing ,BECAUSE THATS THE WAY IT WORKS IN INDIAN COUNTRY ,right frank bebow and judge schlector.

  3. if you have to replace somebody judge holter replace her or cant you because she was apointed by pawlenty .

  4. That was… Strange.

  5. To whom it may concern,

    I have to say I have been in Judge Holter’s court room many times for accounting matters and also
    Judge Schlichter’s court room also. They are both very fine Judges. I wish Judge Holter would have
    been able to continue. He was fair and versed in the law.

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