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Published September 19, 2013, 09:15 AM

16 apply to replace Grand Forks’ Judge Medd

Sixteen lawyers, including a man already on the bench in Grand Forks and several prosecutors, have applied to be named to replace state District Judge Joel Medd, who retired Sept. 1.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Sixteen lawyers, including a man already on the bench in Grand Forks and several prosecutors, have applied to be named to replace state District Judge Joel Medd, who retired Sept. 1.

Until another judge is seated, fill-in judges from across the state are being used, including surrogate judges, retired judges who occasionally hear cases as needed, court officials say.

Medd, who had been on the district court bench since 1979, said he is still is wrapping up work on a few cases and will sit on the November trial of Rodney Brossart, the Lakota, N.D., farmer charged with terrorizing law enforcement.

Among the candidates is John Thelen, a former longtime defense attorney who has been one of two judicial referees — and magistrates — in Grand Forks since July 1, 2009.

Three Grand Forks County prosecutors, Jason McCarthy, Nancy Yon and Faye Jasmer, have applied as have several area defense attorneys.

From Grand Forks: Gretchen Handy, Jon Jensen, Ward Johnson III, Jay Knudson, Kristi Pettit-Venhuizen, Larry Richards, Lolita Romanick, Kerry Rosenquist and Ted Sandberg. From Larimore, N.D.: Don Hager.

From outside the area: Daniel Borgen, Bismarck, and Cherie Clark, Fargo.

What’s next

According to officials at the state supreme court, which oversees the state’s court system, a judicial nominating committee will interview the 16 candidates for Medd’s vacancy and recommend one to Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Dalrymple then has 30 days to approve the choice or ask for another list; he also could call for an election of a new judge.

The appointed new judge would serve a term until the first general election held after the new judge has put in at least two years in the position, according to the state constitution.

The state’s northeast central judicial district includes Grand Forks and Nelson counties, the only one of the seven districts with only two counties. It has five judges — including Medd’s vacant seat — and two judicial referees who also serve as county magistrates.

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