Former Carlton County Attorney faces disbarment

Thom Pertler admitted to allegations of misconduct and waived his right to a hearing, according to documents filed recently.

Pertler, Thom WEB
Former Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler

Former Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler will likely be disbarred after admitting to allegations of misconduct that led to the dismissal of more than 25 criminal cases.

Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board Director Susan Humiston filed a petition July 6 claiming Pertler failed to inform assistant county attorneys Jeffrey Boucher and Michael Boese of substantiated claims of misconduct against Cloquet Police Cpl. Scott Beckman. Pertler’s inaction resulted in the dismissal of charges in 19 cases. Charges in eight additional cases were retroactively dismissed and one person was released from prison.

In a stipulation for discipline filed July 29 and signed by Pertler and Humiston, Pertler “unconditionally” admitted to the allegations contained in the MLPRB petition. In the document, Pertler and Humiston joined in “recommending that the appropriate discipline is disbarment.”

Pertler waived the right to a hearing before a referee that would make findings and conclusions, as well as a recommended disciplinary action. He also waived his right to contest the results and to a hearing before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Pertler is married to Pine Journal columnist Jill Pertler.


The petition alleged Pertler failed to act after receiving an investigation report substantiating claims of misconduct by Beckman in March 2017. The report claimed Beckman omitted relevant information in a search warrant application and conducted an incomplete investigation in February 2016. Beckman received a suspension for his conduct.

The Minnesota Supreme Court makes determinations on all attorney discipline, according to Humiston.

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