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Dayton appoints deputy county attorney to judgeship

A Brainerd man Gov. Mark Dayton recognized for a career dedicated to pursuing justice for Minnesotans will become the next 9th District Court judge. Chief Deputy Crow Wing County Attorney David F. Hermerding gained the appointment as a 9th Distri...

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David Hermerding

A Brainerd man Gov. Mark Dayton recognized for a career dedicated to pursuing justice for Minnesotans will become the next 9th District Court judge.

Chief Deputy Crow Wing County Attorney David F. Hermerding gained the appointment as a 9th District Court judge, the governor's office announced Wednesday.

Hermerding replaces retiring Judge John Solien, and will be chambered in Aitkin, a news release from Dayton's office said.

Dayton noted Hermerding's work both as a public attorney and in private practice.

"I am pleased to appoint Mr. Hermerding to serve as district court judge in Minnesota's 9th Judicial District, and wish him well as he takes on this important new role," Dayton stated in the news release.

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Contacted Wednesday, Hermerding said he was humbled by the news, and praised the two other attorney finalists-Brook Mallak and Sarah Winge. Hermerding interviewed with Dayton and judicial selection staff Monday, two days before he was selected.

"This is a very special day for me and my family," he said. "I'm looking forward to being over in Aitkin, and working with everyone over in Aitkin County."

Hermerding, who is married and the father of six, plans to eventually move to Aitkin. A hint of sadness permeated his joy at being selected, because he knew he'd be leaving his co-workers at the Crow Wing County Attorney's office, he said.

Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan has known Hermerding since he attended Saint John's University with Ryan's brother. He hired Hermerding as a young associate at his private practice and again years later into the county attorney's office.

Ryan said while prosecutors are often portrayed as cold, hard lawyer types, Hermerding could not have a more different demeanor. Ryan pointed to his work as a prosecutor in the Drug Court, where defendants have praised Hermerding as the reason they were able to maintain their sobriety. He said the defendants often called Hermerding in the middle of the night to receive support.

"I think David Hermerding is going to make a great judge," Ryan said. "David might be the fairest minded person I have ever known in my whole life. ... He's never forgotten his roots. He's never forgotten where he came from. He just looks at everybody as an individual and treats them all fairly."

Hermerding said he would have large shoes to fill in taking over Solien's post.

"I just want to be able to listen to what people have to say, what the attorneys have to say, make a good, sound judgment, and apply the law properly," Hermerding said.

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Hermerding previously served as assistant Crow Wing County attorney, a managing and staff attorney in the 9th Judicial District Public Defender's Office, a partner at Mitchell & Hermerding, and an associate at Ryan, Ruttger & Drake and Erickson Law Offices. He has a bachelor's degree from Saint John's University and earned his law degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

Hermerding is the past president of the Aitkin-Crow Wing County Bar Association, and is also a member of the Mercy Task Force and the Violent Crimes Coordinating Council.

The 9th Judicial District is made up of Aitkin, Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties.

Brainerd Dispatch reporter Chelsey Perkins contributed to this report.

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