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Baxter attorney to serve as judge in Walker

WALKER – Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Jana M. Austad as a judge in the Ninth Judicial District.

Austad will be chambered in Walker, replacing Judge John P. Smith, who was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Also appointed to judicial openings in the Ninth district Tuesday were Anne M. Rasmusson and Judge Korey Wahwassuck. Rasmusson will be chambered in Mahnomen, replacing Judge Michael J. Kraker, who was retired. Wahwassuck, an associate judge of the Leech lake Band of Ojibwe, will be chambered in Grand Rapids, replacing Judge John R. Hawkinson, who retired.

Austad is the managing attorney in the Brainerd Regional Office of the Minnesota Public Defender, where, in addition to her caseload, she manages the assistant public defenders in Aitkin, Cass and Crow Wing counties.

Previously, she was an attorney at Kief, Fuller, Baer and Wallner, Ltd., practicing general litigation with a concentration in workers’ compensation, township law and family law.

Austad received her bachelor’s degree from Augsburg College and her juris doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law.

Austad, who lives in Baxter, is an active volunteer with the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen and has worked with the League of Women Voters on issues concerning the judiciary.