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Tim Walz
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz answers questions during a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, during a stop at Central Minnesota Council on Aging offices in Sartell. (The St. Cloud Times via AP)

Bar Buzz: Nine hopefuls forwarded for four judgeships

The governor’s going to be busy soon interviewing judicial candidates.

The Judicial Selection Commission has handed Gov. Tim Walz nine names to fill four vacancies in the state’s 4th and 5th Judicial Districts.

One of those will replace new Supreme Court Associate Justice Gordon L. Moore, who recently took over for the retired Justice David Lillehaug on the state’s highest court. Moore’s replacement will chamber in Worthington.

Another candidate will replace former Hennepin County District Court Judge Theodora K. Gaïtas, who now sits on the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Retiring Hennepin County District Court judges Fred Karasov and Ronald L. Abrams also need to be replaced.

To fill Moore’s seat, the governor has been offered three choices:

  • Nicholas Anderson is the Cottonwood County Attorney and a former solo practitioner at the Nicolas Anderson Law Office.
  • Virginia Barron is assistant 5th District public defender and a former guardian ad litem who once operated a criminal defense and family law practice.
  • Sherry Haley is the Jackson County Attorney who previously served as an assistant county attorney in the same office.

To replace Gaïtas, Karasov and Abrams, Walz has six choices.

  • Julie Allyn is an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, as well as a former assistant Hennepin County Attorney and assistant state Attorney General.
  • Anna Andow is a child support magistrate at Minneapolis’ Family Law Justice Center and a former a staff attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.
  • Theresa Couri is a managing attorney in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, and a former assistant state Attorney General and litigation associate at Oppenheimer, Wolff & Donnelly.
  • Imani Jaafar is director of the Office of Police Conduct Review in the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, who previously worked as a housing staff attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid and as an assistant Ramsey County public defender.
  • Maximillia Utley is a senior assistant Hennepin County Attorney and former Minnesota Court of Appeals judicial clerk who will become an adjunct professor of trial practice at the University of St. Thomas Law School this fall.
  • Terri Yellowhammer is the American Indian community relations development manager for Hennepin County and a former Indian Child Welfare Law Center attorney, White Earth Nation Tribal Court judge and assistant state Attorney General.

All three of Walz’s 4th District picks will chamber in Minneapolis.

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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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