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(Deposit photos)
(Deposit photos)

Bar Buzz: Eight vie for three judgeships

Eight finalists’ names were recently handed to Gov. Tim Walz as he decides how to fill three open slots on the District Court bench.

Five candidates were named finalists for two seats in Ramsey County’s 2nd Judicial District. There, Judge Jennifer Frisch has moved onto the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Judge Judith M. Tilsen is retiring.

Meanwhile, three candidates were named finalists to take over for 9th Judicial District Court Judge Paul T. Benshoof, who also is retiring.

Finalists for the two 2nd District seats are:

Anthony Brown, a corporate counsel at ECMC Shared Services and a part-time public defender for the Ramsey County Public Defender’s Office, also owns Capitol City Law Group, L.L.C. There he represents individuals in civil and criminal matters. Brown is a former co-chair for the Innocence Project of Minnesota.

Kellie Charles, a senior attorney in the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, manages the office’s Appeals and Special Litigation, Treatment Court and Felony Probation Revocation teams. Charles has also represented indigent clients in adult, juvenile and child-protection cases at the trial and appellate levels. She is an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline College of Law.

Scott Flaherty, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister L.L.P., handles complex commercial litigation, including intellectual property, contract disputes and civil fraud cases. He is a former adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School and a former law clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

 Maria Mitchell, an assistant Ramsey County Attorney, handles Pre-Trial Diversion Division and Treatment Court cases. She also has worked in the Child Protection Division of the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and as an assistant Hennepin County Public Defender. She clerked in the 4th Judicial District and was a trial attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, New York.

Edward Sheu, a partner at Best & Flanagan L.L.P., handles a wide range of litigation and other dispute-resolution matters in the state and federal courts. He is a former law clerk for the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Both new judges, once named, will chamber at St. Paul.

Finalists for the two 9th District seats are:

Jeanine Brand, an assistant Cass County Attorney, primarily handles prosecution of sexual assault, domestic assault, child endangerment, protective order violation and controlled substance cases. She is a former Clearwater County Attorney, assistant Clearwater County Attorney, assistant Bemidji City Attorney and assistant Clay County Attorney.

Tom Kuesel, a solo practitioner, operates his own law firm in northern Minnesota where he focuses on criminal defense and personal injury matters. He has worked as a part-time assistant 9th Judicial District public defender, 8th District law clerk and student attorney for the Anoka County Attorney’s Office.

Clifford Wardlaw, an assistant Polk County Attorney, handles criminal prosecutions, including narcotics, domestic violence, child abuse and criminal sexual conduct offenses. He is a former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Minnesota District, where he prosecuted violent crimes in Indian country.

Whoever is chosen to replace Benshoof will chamber at Bemidji in Beltrami County.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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