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By Pete Radosevich
Pine Knot News 

Commission refers three Carlton County judge candidates to Governor

 

November 30, 2018



After screening more than a dozen applicants, the Governor’s Commission on Judicial Selection has recommended he choose one of three candidates for Carlton County Judge to replace Judge Leslie Beiers, who asked that her seat be moved to Duluth upon Judge Mark Munger’s retirement in January.

The three candidates are Kevin Cornwell, Terri Port Wright, and Rebekka Stumme. Although all three are very familiar faces in the Carlton County Courthouse, only Port Wright has an office in Carlton County.

Retired Judge Dale Wolf told the Pine Knot News that all three candidates would fill the position well.

“I know it takes not only wisdom and hard work to be a trial court judge, but also lots of common sense, sympathy and, hopefully, a good supply of insight into human nature,” said Wolf, who served Carlton County for more than 40 years.

All three candidates have been part-time public defenders. (The Chief Public Defender often contracts with private practice attorneys to provide criminal defense to the public who cannot afford a lawyer.)

Kevin Cornwell is a sole practitioner who focuses on criminal defense and family law, and is currently a part-time public defender with his office in Duluth. He is an adjunct professor at St. Scholastica, and has practiced as an associate attorney at Stauber & Lien. He was also a law clerk to Judge Robert Campbell.

Terri Port Wright is a sole practitioner who practices family law, criminal defense and child protection law from her Cloquet office. She had a significant career prior to attending law school, and started her own law office more than a decade ago.

Rebekka Stumme works in the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office in Duluth and has practiced civil litigation at Downs, Reyelts and Bateman, Ltd. and clerked for Judge Mark Munger.

“The new judge will work closely with Judge Macauley,” Wolf said. “It’s like a ‘two-person law firm.’ Fortunately, Judge Macauley is very easy to work with. They’ll also have a most professional and wonderful group of court staff.”

While the new judge will chamber in Carlton County, the vacancy is in the Sixth Judicial District, which consists of Carlton, Cook and St. Louis counties. Governor Dayton traditionally picks candidates who practice in the district, but has not necessarily picked attorneys who practice in the county where the vacancy is chambered, which means Carlton County’s new judge could be from Duluth. Although Governor Dayton may appoint anyone he chooses, he has always picked a new judge from the list forwarded to him by the Commission on Judicial Selection.

 
 
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