Saint Paul -- Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced that he has accepted the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Selection for two Second Judicial District trial court bench vacancies in Ramsey County. The first vacancy occurred with the Supreme Court's conversion of a vacant referee position into a district court judgeship. The second vacancy will occur as a result of the resignation of the Honorable Louise Dovre Bjorkman effective on April 8, 2005. The finalists are Diane R. Alshouse, Robert A. Awsumb, Colia F. Ceisel, Elizabeth V. Cutter, Douglas B. Meslow, and Clifford B. Wardlaw.
Alshouse, of Roseville, is a managing attorney in the Ramsey County Public Defender's office in St. Paul. She has been an assistant Ramsey County public defender since 1985, except from 1997 to 1998, when she was an assistant county attorney in the Hennepin County attorney's office in Minneapolis. Alshouse earned her juris doctorate degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul in 1984, and her bachelor of arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa in 1970.
Awsumb, of St. Paul, is the chief manager, attorney and mediator with R.A. Awsumb and Associates in St. Paul, a position he has held since 1998. He has also been an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul since 1993. Awsumb was the president and founding attorney of Rambow and Awsumb in Bloomington from 1991 to 1998 and an attorney with the Minneapolis law firm of Rider, Bennett, Egan and Arundel from 1986 to 1991. Awsumb earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell in 1986 and his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1982.
Ceisel, of St. Paul, is a part-time assistant Second Judicial District public defender in Ramsey County and a part-time Third Judicial District contract child support magistrate in Rochester. She has been an attorney in the Ramsey County public defender's office since 1978 and a child support magistrate since 2001. Ceisel was a special assistant Anoka County attorney in 2000, an administrative law judge at the Office of Administrative Hearings in Minneapolis from 1997 to 1999, a self-employed attorney in St. Paul from 1983 to 1997 and a special assistant attorney general with the Minnesota Attorney General's office from 1977 to 1978. Ceisel earned her juris doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota in 1977 and her bachelor of arts degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont in 1972.
Cutter, of St. Paul, is an assistant county attorney in the Hennepin County attorney's office in Minneapolis, a position she has held since 1988. She was a special assistant attorney general in the Minnesota Attorney General's office from 1980 through 1987. Cutter earned her juris doctorate degree cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1980, her master of arts (1992), and bachelor of elective studies (1974) degrees from the University of Minnesota.
Meslow, of White Bear Lake, has been an attorney and partner with the law firm of Meslow and Olson in White Bear Lake since 1997. He has also been the city prosecutor for Gem Lake and White Bear Lake since 1991 and is serving his second term in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Meslow was a solo practitioner in White Bear Lake from 1995 to 1997, an attorney and partner with the Geck and Meslow law firm in White Bear Lake from 1992 to 1995, an associate attorney with the law firm of Sweeney and Bohrer in St. Paul from 1988 to 1992, an associate attorney with the law firm of Salmen and Brinkman in St. Paul from 1985 to 1988, and an associate attorney with the law firm of Moss and Barnett in Minneapolis from 1984 to 1985. Meslow earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1984 and his bachelor of arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield in 1981.
Wardlaw, of St. Paul, is an assistant United States attorney in Minneapolis, a position he has held since 1997. He was an assistant Hennepin County attorney from 1987 to 1997 and also served as a legal writing instructor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul from 1989 to 1994 and again from 1996 to 1997. Wardlaw earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1987 and his bachelor of arts degree from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in 1982.
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 39 applications for these judicial vacancies.