Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce his appointment to the vacant Crow Wing County District Court judge's post Monday at the Crow Wing County Judicial Center.
Finalists for the post are Brainerd attorney Erik Askegaard, assistant Crow Wing County Attorney David Hermerding and Bemidji assistant Ninth Judicial District defender Diane M. Sweeney. The seat has been vacant since the May 31 retirement of Judge John Leitner.
Pawlenty will make the announcement at 12:30 p.m. Monday in Courtroom No. 1 of the judicial center.
Askegaard is a Brainerd attorney and president of the Askegaard and Robinson law firm in Brainerd, a position he has held since 1991. He was an associate attorney with the Jeffries, Olson and Flom law firm in Moorhead from 1987 to 1991 and a law clerk to North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Herbert L. Meschke in Bismarck, N.D., from 1986 to 1987. Askegaard earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., in 1986, and his bachelor of science business administration degree cum laude from the University of North Dakota in 1982.
Hermerding is an assistant Crow Wing County attorney, a position he has held since 2007. He was the managing attorney of the Ninth Judicial District Public Defender's office in Brainerd from 1998 to 2007, an attorney and partner with the Brainerd law firm of Mitchell and Hermerding from 1995 to 1998, an associate attorney with the Brainerd law firm of Ryan, Ruttger and Drake from 1994 to 1995 and an associate attorney with the Erickson Law Offices in Brainerd from 1993 to 1994. Hermerding earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1993, and his bachelor of science degree from St. John's University in Collegeville in 1984.
Sweeney is an assistant Ninth Judicial District Public Defender in Bemidji, a position she has held since 1996. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Bemidji State University from 1998 to 2001. Previously, she was an attorney with the law firm of Shermoen, LeDuc and Jaksa in International Falls from 1990 to 1996 and a legal temporary worker assigned at the Dorsey and Whitney law firm in Minneapolis from 1988 to 1990. Sweeney earned her juris doctorate degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Conn., in 1988, and her bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1984.
The Commission on Judicial Selection received 13 applications for this judicial vacancy. Leitner was first appointed to the bench by Gov. Arne Carlson on Aug. 1, 1992. He won re-election in 1994 and 2000 and was elected to another six -year term in 2006.
MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5860.
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