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Seventh district case filings

Six New Judges Begin Serving the Seventh District Within 90 Days

From April to July, 2018, six new judges appointed by Governor Mark Dayton began serving the Seventh Judicial District to replace retiring judges. The work of bringing on six judges in a short timeframe was successful, due in large part to organization, communication, and collaboration between the human resources department, District Administration, court administration, and the information technology division.

Judge Douglas B. Clark replaced Judge Sally Ireland Robertson, and is chambered in Wadena County; Judge Amber B. Gustafson and Judge Tammy L. Merkins replaced Judge Steven J. Cahill and Judge Galen J. Vaa, and are chambered in Clay County; Judge Kevin M. Miller replaced Judge Waldemar B. Senyk, and is chambered Otter Tail County; Judge Michelle L. Clark replaced Judge Ann L. Carrott, and is chambered in Douglas County; and Judge Antoinette C. Wetzel replaced Judge Douglas P. Anderson, and is chambered in Morrison County.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is experiencing a rapid rate of judge retirements. By 2022, almost 40 percent of all judges that were on the bench in 2017 either will have retired, or will have turned 65-years-old.

Benton County District Court is First Court on Minnesota Judicial Branch Instagram

In July 2018, the Minnesota Judicial Branch launched an Instagram account to highlight all of the courthouses in the state, and the work that happens within each courthouse. Benton County District Court was selected as the first court to be featured. 

Benton County was established in 1849 and organized in 1850, and is one of the oldest counties in Minnesota. The Benton County Courthouse houses two chambered judges and their staff, the Court Administrator’s office, Corrections, the County Attorney’s office, and the County Law Library.