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Dayton names new 3rd District judge

Published 10:50am Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The chief public defender of the 3rd Judicial District has been appointed to fill a judicial vacancy in Steele County.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday announced Karen Duncan will replace former Judge Casey Christian, who retired at the end of December.

Karen Duncan

Duncan was one of three lawyers recommended for the position.

Also recommended were Kevin Siefken of Christian & Peterson law firm in Albert Lea and Adam Dowd, a partner of Schmitz, Ophaug & Dowd law firm in Northfield.

Dayton said in a news release that Duncan has demonstrated commitment to justice and the state’s legal system.

“Her history of public service and community engagement will help her as she serves the people of the 3rd Judicial District,” he said.

As chief public defender, Duncan supervised staff and volunteers serving clients in the 11 counties of the district, including Freeborn, Mower, Olmsted, Steele and Waseca counties.

She has previously served as the assistant public defender for the district and at the Duncan Law Office in Owatonna. She has also been an assistant county attorney for Rice and Olmsted counties in Minnesota and Benton County in Iowa.

Siefken, who was previously nominated in 2011 for a judicial opening in Freeborn County, said he was “not terribly disappointed” he was not chosen for the position and noted it would have been difficult for him to relocate to Owatonna from Albert Lea.

“I’m sure she’ll do a very good job as a judge,” he said.