Three candidates have been recommended to fill Judge Robert E. Macaulay's seat when he retires from Minnesota's Sixth Judicial District Court.

The Commission on Judicial Selection announced Monday three recommended candidates to Gov. Tim Walz to fill the Carlton County court seat: Nicole Bettendorf-Hopps, Clarissa Ek and Amy Lukasavitz.

Nicole Bettendorf-Hopps

Nicole Bettendorf-Hopps
Contributed / Commission on Judicial Selection
Nicole Bettendorf-Hopps Contributed / Commission on Judicial Selection

Bettendorf-Hopps currently serves as the managing attorney for the Sixth District Public Defender's Office. Her experience includes the areas of rehabilitative justice, diversion and community-based programs to resolve warrants. She previously served in the Sixth Judicial District as an assistant public defender.

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Bettendorf-Hopps has volunteered or worked pro bono with the Carlton County Community Outreach Program, the South St. Louis County Mental Health Court and the Indian Child Welfare Act Court Team.

She is a current member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, the National Association of Women Lawyers, Minnesota Women Lawyers and the Minnesota Association for Criminal Defense lawyers.

Clarissa Ek

Clarissa Ek
Contributed / Commision on Judicial Selection
Clarissa Ek Contributed / Commision on Judicial Selection

Ek currently serves as a child support magistrate for the Sixth Judicial District. She previously worked in a variety of capacities, including as a senior assistant St. Louis County Attorney and staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program.

Having worked as a public defender and prosecutor, and also in private practice, Ek has experience in the areas of child protection, family law, juvenile delinquency and criminal law in both trial and appellate courts.

Ek is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and has volunteered and worked for victims of domestic abuse through Tubman legal services and the First Witness Child Advocacy Center. Ek is dedicated to restorative justice and equity programs, and she served on the St. Louis County Law Library Board to establish a program to provide equal access to justice.

Amy Lukasavitz

Amy Lukasavitz
Contributed / Commission on Judicial Selection
Amy Lukasavitz Contributed / Commission on Judicial Selection

Lukasavitz is an assistant St. Louis County attorney. Her caseload includes juvenile delinquency, truancy, and estate recovery matters. She previously was an assistant Sixth District public defender and CHIPS parent attorney for St. Louis County.

Lukasavitz has an extensive background in restorative justice and treatment courts, having served as the first coordinator for the South St. Louis County DWI Court and Family Dependency Treatment Court. She has also been a team member for the South St. Louis County Mental Health Court and Drug Court.

Her community involvement includes volunteering with the Crisis Intervention Team, Duluth Playhouse and the Volunteer Attorney Program. She is an Iron Range native.