Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Commission on Judicial Selection recommends 4th Judicial District candidates to Gov. Walz


November 17, 2023

Contact: Claire Lancaster



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


[ST. PAUL, MN] – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today that it is recommending six candidates for consideration to fill three vacancies in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. These vacancies occurred upon the resignation of the Honorable Toddrick S. Barnette, the retirement of the Honorable Tanya M. Bransford, and the elevation of the Honorable Keala C. Ede to the Court of Appeals. These seats will be chambered in Minneapolis in Hennepin County. 

Rachel Barrett: Rachel Barrett is an associate attorney at Ciresi Conlin, where she represents plaintiffs in medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, and impact litigation in state and federal court. She was previously an assistant public defender in the Fourth Judicial District Public Defender’s Office in Hennepin County. Barrett also clerked for the Honorable Margaret H. Chutich and the Honorable Diane B. Bratvold on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. She currently serves as vice chair of the board of directors and a volunteer attorney for the Children’s Law Center. 

LeeAnn Bell:  LeeAnn Bell is senior litigation counsel for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota, where she prosecutes a variety of felonies in the criminal division, including violent crime, national security matters, drug trafficking, and civil rights violations. She also serves as the district’s training officer, overseeing the office’s training program. Bell was previously an associate attorney at Halleland, Lewis, Nilan and Johnson, where she practiced complex commercial litigation. Her community involvement includes serving as a volunteer for the U.S. District Court’s Open Doors Program. 

Dean Eyler: Dean Eyler is a partner at Lathrop GPM, where he litigates complex commercial and intellectual property disputes and serves as the firm’s pro bono partner. He was previously a law clerk for the Honorable Donald P. Lay on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and an associate attorney at Dorsey & Whitney. Eyler’s community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Advocates for Human Rights and Minnesota Urban Debate League. He also volunteers with the Volunteer Lawyers Network and provides pro bono representation to parties seeking asylum before the asylum office and immigration court. Eyler helped create a fellows program for high-school debaters and is a former Edina High School debate coach. 

Elizabeth Johnston: Elizabeth Johnstonis a manager and assistant attorney general at the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, where she leads a division representing the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. She previously represented state agencies including the Departments of Labor and Industry and Health. Johnston was an assistant county attorney in Hennepin County in the child protection, criminal appeals, and criminal trials divisions. She was also a law clerk to the Honorable John R. Tunheim on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Her community involvement includes volunteering with First Nations Kitchen and her children’s schools and swim team. 

Kristen Marttila: Kristen Marttila is a partner at Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, where her practice focuses on litigating complex antitrust and other consumer-oriented class actions. She is the chair of the firm’s pro bono committee, and her own pro bono practice has included civil rights, environmental, criminal appeals, and criminal expungement cases. Marttila was previously a law clerk for the Honorable Patrick J. Schiltz and Honorable Eric C. Tostrud on the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. She was also an attorney at Faegre & Benson LLP, where she handled environmental and land use matters. Marttila’s community involvement includes chairing the amicus committee of the Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws. She also volunteers in Minneapolis Public Schools as a classroom assistant and as a member of the Welcoming Equity Committee of her local elementary school. 

Dominick Mathews: Dominick Mathews is a principal attorney at the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, where he supervises over 100 attorneys and support staff in the felony prosecution of homicide, sexual assault, domestic assault, child abuse, felony assault, and other serious felony level crimes. He was previously a law clerk for the Honorable Toddrick S. Barnette in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. Mathews’s community involvement includes serving on the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure and volunteering as a mentor for the ACT/SAT college preparatory program for Twin Cities youth.

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

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