Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Commission on Judicial Selection recommends 8th Judicial District candidates to Gov. Walz


December 14, 2023

Contact: Claire Lancaster



Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Eighth 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 Eighth Judicial District. The vacancy will occur upon the retirement of the Honorable David L. Mennis. This seat will be chambered in Benson in Swift County.

Kristen Pierce: Kristen Pierce is the first assistant county attorney in the Kandiyohi County Attorney’s Office, where she provides legal advice to county departments and maintains a criminal, juvenile, and civil commitment caseload. She was previously an associate attorney at Anderson Larson PLLC, a law clerk for the Honorable Ann L. Carrott in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District, and a contract public defender in the Eighth Judicial District. Pierce’s community involvement includes serving on the Eighth Judicial District Treatment Court team and as a member of the West Central Singers. She also volunteers with the Minnesota State Bar Association Mock Trial Program.

Allison Whalen: Allison Whalen is an assistant county attorney in the Stevens County Attorney’s Office, where she handles a caseload of criminal prosecution, juvenile delinquency, child protection, civil commitment, guardianship and conservatorship, child support, and appellate matters. She was previously an assistant county attorney in the Swift County Attorney’s Office and a law clerk to the Honorable Matthew E. Johnson on the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Honorable Michael R. Savre in Minnesota’s First Judicial District. Whalen’s community involvement includes serving on the board of the 16th District Bar Association and as a member of the Stevens County Children’s Justice Initiative and the Stevens County Violence Prevention Task Force.

Brandon Zumwalt: Brandon Zumwalt is a partner at Johnson, Moody, Schmidt, Kleinhuizen & Zumwalt, P.A., where he represents clients in a broad range of criminal and civil matters. He was previously an associate attorney at Walling, Berg, & Debele, P.A.  Zumwalt’s community involvement includes serving on the boards of the Willmar Rotary Club, Willmar Rotary Foundation, and Willmar Area Community Foundation. He also volunteers on the Willmar Public School District Community Task Force and as a mentor for the school district’s REACH program to help students overcome academic and personal obstacles to achieve success.   

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

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