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BSU grad named outstanding judge

Alan Pendleton

ANOKA COUNTY – A Bemidji State University alumnus has been named an outstanding judge.

Tenth Judicial District Judge Alan Pendleton, a 1977 BSU graduate chambered in Anoka County, is a recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Judge Award from the Minnesota District Judges Association.

“I was kind of in awe,” Pendleton said of the award. “It was not something I was expecting. I am very honored, very humbled.”

Pendleton, 57, was honored for his commitment to improving the judicial system and promotion of judicial efficiency, according to a press release.

The nomination stated that Pendleton designed, coordinated and obtained funding for the construction of Minnesota’s first fully integrated, electronic courtroom. He also presents training seminars for law enforcement, attorneys and the judiciary. He has authored numerous publications and maintains a bi-weekly judicial training email service offering concise and easy-to-read judicial tips. They are distributed to about 85 percent of the state’s judges and to members of private and public bars.

He recently learned the Minnesota State Bar Association will publish his book, “The Minnesota Handbook on Motor Vehicle Stops and Warrantless Searches” written primarily for judges, attorneys and law enforcement.

“Besides just judging, one of my passions has always been teaching and judicial education,” Pendleton said.

Pendleton, who in 2004 received a BSU Outstanding Alumni Award, grew up in Duluth. He chose to attend BSU primarily because of Lee Ahlbrecht, the coach of the university’s swimming and diving team.

“Lee Albrecht’s mentorship of me was invaluable,” Pendleton said. “As a result of everything he did for me, I feel like I’m forever in his debt.”

Pendleton, a diver, was an NAIA All-American in 1976. He also was All-Conference in 1975 and 1976.

“Probably the biggest influential person in my life, outside of my father, was Lee Albrecht,” Pendleton said. “What I carry with me in my life are many of the lessons I learned from Coach Alhbrecht: how to manage victory like a man, how to manage defeat like a man.

“He taught me those basic lessons: hard work and persistence, maintaining a level of integrity and honesty in all that you do. Work hard, be persistent. When you win, be professional; when you lose, you’re dignified. That had a great impact on me.”

Pendleton, a sociology and criminal justice major, graduated BSU and went to law school at Drake University.

“I always wanted to be a trial attorney,” Pendleton said. “My long-term aspiration, if I was lucky enough, was to get appointed to the bench.”

Pendleton previously worked as an assistant county attorney in Anoka and Winona counties and with private Minneapolis firms.

As a county attorney, he prosecuted numerous homicides, he said.

“It’s incredibly hard, but it’s also incredibly rewarding,” he said. “I never thought I’d like anything more than that.”

He was appointed to the bench in 1999 by Gov. Jesse Ventura and was first chambered in Sherburne County.

“Although I missed the trial work, work as a district court judge is also incredibly rewarding,” he said. “I’ve been real fortunate. I’ve been able to follow my passion every step along the way.”