New judge is no stranger to Carlton County
The new face behind the bench in Carlton County will likely be familiar to many.
Last week Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Leslie E. Beiers as district court judge in Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District. Beiers replaces retired judge Dale A. Wolf and will be chambered in Carlton County.
A second candidate, Assistant Duluth City Attorney Theresa M. Neo, was selected by Dayton to replace retired Sixth Judicial District Judge Heather L. Sweetland. Neo will be chambered in St. Louis County.
“Leslie Beiers and Theresa Neo have spent their entire legal careers pursuing the cause of justice in our communities,” said Governor Dayton. “Their extensive experience in our criminal justice system, and their personal commitments to the advancement of important civic causes, make Beiers and Neo uniquely qualified for these important positions. I am confident they will be outstanding judges.”
As it turns out, Beiers has long-time ties with Carlton County.
Carlton County Attorney Marv Ketola hired her to become assistant Carlton County attorney in the early 1990s, not long after she got out of law school.
“He was very proud of his selection because she became a very ambitious and aggressive prosecutor,” said Wolf. “She was always well prepared when she appeared in my court. She became an experienced trial attorney who was tough on crime and a strong advocate for crime victims. She also had a lot of common sense and understood people’s plights and tempered that awesome power as a prosecutor to reach positive and fair outcomes.”
Wolf said Beiers worked alongside another young prosecutor, Robert M. Macaulay, who now serves as a Sixth Judicial Court judge in Carlton County, meaning the two will once again be working side by side.
After four years of service to Carlton County, Beiers was hired by St. Louis County, where she most recently served as Senior Assistant St. Louis County Attorney, assigned to the Civil Division representing the Assessor and the Sheriff’s Office. Previously, she prosecuted adult and juvenile felony offenses in the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office.
Since 2011, Beiers has also served as a special assistant U.S. attorney, occasionally representing the government in federal cases.
“I’ve been around a long time and I’ve always been in public service,” Beiers said. “I’ve practiced in almost all areas, and I want to remain in public service. I think I have a lot to offer.”
Beiers earned her B.A. from the University of North Dakota and her J.D. from the University of North Dakota School of Law. She has served as a volunteer with Ruby’s Pantry and the Courage Center, and is a former President of the 11th District Bar Association.
She lives in Duluth with her wife, Linda Krug, who is president of the Duluth City Council. Krug serves on the statewide Commission on Judicial Selection charged with recommending finalists for judges’ positions to the office of Governor Dayton.
“She [Krug] recused herself from the decision-making process as it pertained to both vacancies in the Sixth Judicial District, and did not play any role in this appointment, whatsoever,” stated Matt Swenson, press secretary for Governor Dayton, in an email to the Pine Journal earlier this week.
Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District consists of Carlton, Cook, Lake, and St. Louis Counties.
Wolf said Beiers will be an excellent addition to the bench in Carlton County.
“Her many years of service [in St. Louis County] have demonstrated…her impressive work record prosecuting major felonies, handling challenging juvenile matters as well as dealing with civil issues,” said Wolf. “Our new judge thus comes to the bench with a full background in all areas of the law.”
“It kind of feels like I’m closing the circle 20 years later,” commented Beiers. “I’m thrilled to go back to Carlton County.”
Tom Olsen of Forum News Service contributed to this story.