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Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Ninth Judicial District Candidates

March 15, 2013
The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today it is recommending four candidates to Governor Mark Dayton for consideration to fill the vacancy in Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District. This vacancy was created upon the appointment of the Honorable John P. Smith to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. This seat will be chambered at Walker in Cass County within the Ninth Judicial District.

Jana Austad: Ms. Austad is the Managing Attorney in the Brainerd Regional Office of the Minnesota Public Defender, where, in addition to her caseload, she manages the assistant public defenders in Aitkin, Cass, and Crow Wing Counties. Previously, she was an attorney at Kief, Fuller, Baer and Wallner, Ltd., practicing general litigation with a concentration in workers’ compensation, township law, and family law. Ms. Austad is an active volunteer with the Sharing Break Soup Kitchen and the Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

Eric Schieferdecker: Mr. Schieferdecker is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Minnesota, and primarily prosecutes murder, drug, sexual predator civil commitment, and implied consent cases in the Ninth and Seventh Judicial Districts. Previously, he was the Chief Assistant County Attorney in Beltrami County. Mr. Schieferdecker is a Students First Mentor at Bemidji Middle School and a board member and vice chair of the Sexual Assault Program of Beltrami, Cass, and Hubbard Counties.

Christopher Strandlie: Mr. Strandlie is the Cass County Attorney, where he serves as the chief prosecutor for the county and legal advisor for all county departments. Prior to the County Attorney’s Office, Mr. Strandlie was a partner at Kimball and Strandlie Law Office, handling real estate, family law, probate, and criminal defense cases. Additionally, Mr. Strandlie is a 17 year veteran and president of the Walker Volunteer Fire Department and vice-president of the Walker Area Youth Hockey Association.

Judge Korey Wahwassuck: Judge Wahwassuck is an Associate Judge of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court, where she hears cases and drafts opinions. Previously, she was a tribal attorney for the Leech Lake Band and a solo practitioner in Missouri and Kansas. Additionally, Judge Wahwassuck served as an adjunct instructor at the Leech Lake Tribal College and helped found and presides over the Leech Lake-Cass County-Itasca County Welness Courts, the first joint tribal-state jurisdiction courts in the nation.

Minnesota’s Ninth Judicial District consists of Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau Counties.

An announcement of the appointment will be made following an interview process over the next few weeks.