ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointments of Ms. Michelle Winkis Lawson and Ms. Christina Wietzema as District Court Judges in Minnesota's Seventh and Fifth Judicial Districts. Ms. Lawson will replace the Honorable Michael L. Kirk who was appointed earlier this year to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Ms. Wietzema will replace the Honorable Bruce F. Gross who retired earlier this year. Ms. Lawson’s seat will be chambered in Moorhead in Clay County in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District, while Ms. Wietzema’s seat will be co-chambered in Cottonwood and Murray Counties in the Fifth Judicial District.
Ms. Lawson serves as the Chief Assistant Clay County Attorney for the Civil Division, and has served as the Interim Clay County Attorney. Prior to this, she worked as a facilitator for the University of Mary and was an associate attorney with the Vogel Law Firm. Ms. Lawson is a member of the Clay County Children’s Justice Initiative and is a former member of the Moorhead Rotary Club.
Ms. Wietzema currently works as an Assistant Public Defender for the Fifth Judicial District where she represents indigent clients in all areas of public defense. Prior to this, she represented clients in family law, real property and criminal law as an associate attorney with Bernardy & Scholl, P.A. Ms. Wietzema is a member of the Rock Nobles Community Corrections Advisory Board and is a volunteer mock trial judge. She is also an active volunteer with St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District consists of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena Counties and the Fifth Judicial Districts consists of Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock and Watonwan Counties.
More information on the Commission on Judicial Selection, as well as vacancies it is currently considering, can be found here.
Headshots of Ms. Lawson and Ms. Wietzema are attached