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Commission on Judicial Selection recommends 5th Judicial District candidates to Gov. Walz

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 6, 2022

Claire Lancaster

claire.lancaster@state.mn.us

651-219-2975

 

Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Fifth Judicial District Candidates to Governor Walz

[ST. PAUL, MN] – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today that it is recommending three candidates for consideration to fill a vacancy in Minnesota’s Fifth Judicial District. The vacancy will occur upon the retirement of the Honorable Kurt D. Johnson. The seat will be chambered in Mankato in Blue Earth County.

Paul Gunderson: Paul Gunderson is an assistant county attorney in Brown County, where he prosecutes felony and gross misdemeanor cases. He also serves on the Brown County Treatment Court staffing team. He previously was an associate attorney at Blethen Berens, where his practice included criminal defense, business litigation, and representing the City of New Ulm as an assistant city attorney. Gunderson’s community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Oak Hills Living Center and the New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce. He also volunteers as a coach for the Bethany Lutheran College mock trial team and as a mock trial judge with the American Mock Trial Association and the Minnesota State High School League. Gunderson has also served as president of the Ninth District Bar Association.

Kristine Weeks: Kristine Weeks is an assistant public defender in the Fifth Judicial District, where she represents indigent clients in misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, felony, and probation violation proceedings. She also represents clients in child protection and delinquency matters. Weeks previously was an assistant public defender in the Second Judicial District, a law clerk to the Honorable Diane R. Alshouse in the Second Judicial District, and an adjunct professor at Hamline University in the Legal Studies department. For the past ten years, she has served as a union steward for Teamsters Local 320. Weeks is a board member of the Blue Earth County Law Library and a member of the Minnesota Women Lawyers’ South Central chapter. Her community involvement has also included volunteering as a mock trial judge with the Minnesota State High School League, a conflict screener for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, and an adoption assistant at the Animal Humane Society.

Aaron Zurek: Aaron Zurek is an assistant public defender in the Fifth Judicial District, where he represents indigent clients in misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, felony, and probation violation proceedings. He also represents clients in child protection and delinquency matters. Zurek previously served as a staff attorney in the State Court Administrator’s Office, Legal Counsel Division, where he worked to improve court accessibility through Minnesota Judicial Branch’s eCourtMN initiative. Zurek’s community involvement includes serving as a co-organizer of the annual Miles4Miles 5k, a member of the Law Library Board of Trustees for Cottonwood and Watonwan counties, and a volunteer with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and the Minnesota Justice Foundation. He is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Sixth District Bar Association.

For more information about the judicial selection process, please visit the Governor’s Judicial Appointments webpage.

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