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News Item
Judge Stoney L. Hiljus elected chief judge of Tenth Judicial District

Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2020

Judge Elizabeth H. Strand elected assistant chief judge

Judge Stoney L. Hiljus has been elected to serve as the next chief judge of the Tenth Judicial District by his fellow judges in the District. He will assume the chief judge duties from the Honorable Douglas B. Meslow, who has served as chief judge of the Tenth District since July 1, 2016.
During his tenure, Chief Judge Meslow led the District’s judges and staff through monumental changes in handling cases electronically. The District also developed its highly successful self-help program under Judge Meslow’s leadership as chief judge.
Judge Hiljus was appointed to the bench on April 9, 2012, by Governor Mark Dayton. He serves as the sole judicial officer chambered in Kanabec County (Mora) and has served as assistant chief of the Tenth District since July 1, 2018. He is a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul. His previous employment includes time as City Attorney for Coon Rapids, City Administrator for Cambridge, Chief Deputy in the Isanti County Attorney’s Office, Legal Services Director for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, and law clerk for the Honorable James R. Clifford.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected by my colleagues to serve as chief judge of the Tenth Judicial District,” said Judge Hiljus. “I am incredibly fortunate to work with such a diverse, intelligent, and hard-working group of judges and staff. The justice system is here to serve the citizens of the District, and we are doing our best under the pandemic response to allow access to justice for those who need it urgently. I look forward to working with the judges and staff of the Tenth District as we plan for the future.”
Judge Elizabeth H. Strand was elected as assistant chief. Judge Strand was appointed to the bench on September 10, 2012, by Governor Mark Dayton.  She serves as one of six judicial officers chambered in Wright County. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and William Mitchell College of Law. Her previous employment includes time as a prosecuting attorney for the cities of Annandale and Buffalo, a public defender in the Tenth Judicial District, and private practice in the areas of family, criminal, juvenile, and immigration law.
“I look forward to supporting Judge Hiljus in his role as chief judge of the Tenth Judicial District.  It is an honor to have the opportunity to aid Judge Hiljus in our mission to ensure the Tenth continues to provide effective and efficient delivery of justice,” said Judge Strand. “I am amazed by the hard work performed each day by my colleagues and court staff. I hold much gratitude for this outstanding group of individuals because they care about our litigants and justice partners. It is an incredible privilege to be a part of this team.”
A chief judge exercises general administrative authority over the courts within a judicial district, including assigning judges to serve in locations throughout the district. The assistant chief judge aids the chief judge in these responsibilities. The chief judge 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 each 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.
About Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District
The Tenth Judicial District is made up of eight counties and 45 judges, the second most in a district in Minnesota. The Tenth Judicial District is organized into four judicial assignment areas:
  • 16 judges in Anoka County
  • 10 judges in Sherburne and Wright counties
  • 10 judges in Washington County
  • 9 judges in Pine, Isanti, Chisago, and Kanabec counties (PICK)