Bench + Bar of Minnesota

Commission on Judicial Selection recommends 7th Judicial District candidates to Gov. Walz


April 8, 2024

Claire Lancaster



Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Seventh 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 Seventh Judicial District. The vacancy will occur upon the retirement of the Honorable Michael S. Jesse. The seat will be chambered in Foley in Benton County.

Amy Chantry: Amy Chantry serves as a judicial referee in the Tenth Judicial District, where she presides over housing, harassment, domestic violence, minor criminal, and minor civil matters. She previously served as a legal and policy advisor at the Minnesota Department of Health. Chantry’s community involvement includes volunteering as a high school mock trial judge and for various student activities at the Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.

Karl Schmidt: Karl Schmidt is the county attorney in the Benton County Attorney’s Office. He previously served as a senior assistant county attorney in that office, where he primarily handled felony prosecutions, as well as fugitive and extradition cases. He previously was an assistant public defender in the Seventh Judicial District and a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Bruce W. Christopherson in Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District. Schmidt’s community involvement includes volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and he is a member of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.

Victoria Willis-Gutnik: Victoria Willis-Gutnik is an assistant county attorney in the Stearns County Attorney’s Office in the Domestic Violence Unit, where she handles intimate partner violence and human trafficking related crimes. She previously was a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Sarah E. Hennesy in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District. Willis-Gutnik is a member of the Stearns Benton Bar Association, the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.

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


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