Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Commission on Judicial Selection recommends 6th Judicial District candidates to Gov. Walz


June 26, 2023 

Contact: Claire Lancaster



Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Sixth 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 Sixth Judicial District. The vacancy occurred upon the untimely passing of the Honorable Sally L. Tarnowski. The seat will be chambered in Duluth in St. Louis County.

Clarissa Ek: Clarissa Ek is a child support magistrate for the Sixth Judicial District. She was previously a senior assistant attorney for St. Louis County and a staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program. She has a diverse legal background working in child protection, family law, and criminal law in both district and appellate courts. Ek is a veteran of the U.S Airforce, and her community involvement includes volunteering with the First Witness Child Advocacy Center and the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault.

Jessica Fralich: Jessica Fralich is a district court referee for the Sixth Judicial District, presiding over housing, harassment, order for protection, conciliation, minor civil, and family court matters. She was previously an assistant county attorney in the Criminal Division of the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office and an attorney in private practice primarily practicing real estate and family law. Fralich’s community involvement includes serving as a member of the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles program, the Domestic Violence Response Team, and the Range Coordinated Community Response Team. 

Nicole Hopps: Nicole Hopps is the managing attorney for the Sixth Judicial District Public Defender’s Office in Duluth. In this role, she supervises attorneys and support staff serving indigent clients, including in the areas of rehabilitative justice, diversion, and welfare programs. She previously served in the Sixth Judicial District as an assistant public defender. Hopps’s community involvement includes volunteering with the Carlton County Community Outreach Program, the South St. Louis County Mental and Behavioral Health courts, and the Indian Child Welfare Act Court team. 

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

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