Saint Paul – Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced that he has accepted the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Selection for a Fifth Judicial District trial court bench vacancy in the city of Mankato in Blue Earth County. The vacancy occurred with the retirement of the Honorable Norbert P. Smith on September 11, 2010. The finalists are Robert A. Docherty, Krista J. Jass, and Patrick R. McDermott.
Docherty, of New Ulm, is a full-time assistant Fifth Judicial District Public Defender in Mankato, a position he has held since 2002. Previously, he was a part-time public defender as well as an attorney with the Somsen and Schade law firm in New Ulm from 1996 to 2002, an attorney with the Farrish, Johnson and Maschka law firm in Mankato in 1995, a staff attorney (1989 through 1994) and law clerk (1987 to 1989) with the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and a law clerk to First Judicial District Judge Thomas Howe in Hastings in 1987. Docherty earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1987, and his bachelor of arts degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska in 1983.
Jass, of Mankato, is the Fifth Judicial District Chief Public Defender, a position she has held since 2007. Previously, she was the managing attorney with the Fifth Judicial District Public Defender’s office in Mankato from 2002 to 2007, an assistant Fifth Judicial District Public Defender in Mankato from 1994 to 2002, and a Fifth Judicial District law clerk from 1993 to 1994. Jass earned her juris doctorate degree from Hamline University School of Law in 1993, and her bachelor of arts degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in Northfield in 1990.
McDermott, of Mankato, is an assistant Blue Earth County Attorney in Mankato, a position he has held since 1994. Previously, he was an assistant Shakopee City Attorney from 1993 to 1994, and an associate attorney (1990 to 1992) and law clerk (1989) with the Lommen, Nelson, Cole and Stageberg law firm in Minneapolis. McDermott earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Iowa Law School in Iowa City in 1989, and his bachelor of arts degree from Buena Vista College in Storm Lake, Iowa in 1987.
The Commission on Judicial Selection screens judicial candidates and makes recommendations to the Governor for district court vacancies that occur during the term of a judge. The commission consists of 13 members: nine at-large members and four members from the judicial district. The commission members include attorneys and non-attorneys appointed by the Governor and the Minnesota Supreme Court. The commission received nine applications for this judicial vacancy.