News Item
The Honorable Kathryn Davis Messerich Elected First Judicial District Chief Judge

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Honorable David L. Knutson to Serve as Assistant Chief Judge

The Honorable Kathryn Davis Messerich, who is currently assistant chief judge of Minnesota’s First Judicial District, has been elected to serve as chief judge of the District by her fellow judges in the District. Her term as chief judge is effective July 1, 2017.
Chief Judge-Elect Messerich has served the First Judicial District since April 2004. Prior to her appointment, she spent 17 years in private practice as a civil trial lawyer.  She earned her juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1987, a master of science degree in maternal child nursing from the University of Minnesota in 1984, and a bachelor of science degree in nursing magna cum laude from Northern Michigan University in 1979.  Judge Messerich is chambered in the Dakota County judicial Center in Hastings, Minnesota. 
“I am honored to serve in this new role,” said Chief Judge-Elect Messerich.  “I look forward, along with my judicial colleagues and court administration, to meeting the opportunities and challenges facing our District and the judiciary.”
The Honorable David L. Knutson was elected as assistant chief judge in the First District. Judge Knutson was appointed to the bench in ­­­­­­­­June 2004. ­­­­He previously spent 18 years in private practice, and he served as a Minnesota state senator for 12 years, representing the communities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Lakeville, and Rosemount, and serving as an assistant minority leader for seven years. Judge Knutson’s chambers are also located in Hastings.
By statute, the chief judge of a judicial district exercises general administrative authority over the courts within the district, including assigning judges to serve in locations throughout the district. The chief judge of each judicial district also serves as a member of the Minnesota Judicial Council, the administrative policy-making authority for the Minnesota Judicial Branch.
Chief judges and assistant chief judges are elected to two-year terms by the judges within the district. No judge may serve as chief judge or assistant chief judge for more than two consecutive two-year terms. New two-year terms begin on July 1.