Three finalists for an open judgeship in Brainerd were named Wednesday by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
They include Diana M. Sweeney, a 9th Judicial District public defender in Bemidji. Along with Sweeney, Pawlenty tabbed Erik J. Askegaard and David F. Hermerding, both of Brainerd.
The eventual nominee for the post will fill the seat vacated by the May 31 retirement of Crow Wing County District Judge John R. Leitner, first elected in 1992 and most recently re-elected in 2006.
Sweeney of Bemidji, is an assistant 9th Judicial District public defender in Bemidji, a position she has held since 1996. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Bemidji State University from 1998 to 2001. Previously, she was an attorney with the law firm of Shermoen, LeDuc and Jaksa in International Falls from 1990 to 1996, and a legal temporary worker assigned at the Dorsey and Whitney law firm in Minneapolis from 1988-90.
Sweeney earned her juris doctorate degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Conn., in 1988, and her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1984.
Askegaard of Brainerd is an attorney and president of the Askegaard and Robinson law firm in Brainerd, a position he has held since 1991. He was an associate attorney with the Jeffries, Olson and Flom law firm in Moorhead from 1987-91, and a law clerk to North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Herbert L. Meschke in Bismarck from 1986-87.
Askegaard earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks in 1986, and his bachelor's business administration degree cum laude from the University of North Dakota in 1982.
Hermerding of Brainerd is an assistant Crow Wing County attorney, a position he has held since 2007. He was the managing attorney of the 9th Judicial District Public Defender's Office in Brainerd from 1998 to 2007, an attorney and partner with the Brainerd law firm of Mitchell and Hermerding from 1995-98, an associate attorney with the Brainerd law firm of Ryan, Ruttger and Drake from 1994-95, and an associate attorney with the Erickson Law Offices in Brainerd from 1993-94.
Hermerding earned his juris doctorate degree from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul in 1993, and his bachelor's degree from St. John's University in Collegeville in 1984.
The Commission on Judicial Selection made recommendations to Pawlenty. That panel received 13 applications for the Crow Wing County-benched post.