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Commission on Judicial Selection Recommends Third Judicial District Candidates to Governor Dayton


Thu, Apr 18th, 2013
Posted in All State of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN – The Commission on Judicial Selection announced today it is recommending three candidates to Governor Mark Dayton for consideration to fill the vacancy in Minnesota’s Third Judicial District. This vacancy was created upon the retirement of the Honorable Robert R. Benson. This seat will be chambered at Preston in Fillmore County within the Third Judicial District.

Richard Jackson: Mr. Jackson is the lead attorney for the Special Prosecution Unit in the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office, overseeing three attorneys and maintaining a caseload primarily of felony level domestic relationship related crimes. He previously served as the Houston County Attorney, where he acted as the chief prosecutor for the county. Mr. Jackson is an adjunct professor for the Baccalaureate Paralegal Program at Winona State University and an active volunteer for Neighbors in Action in La Crescent.

Matthew Opat: Mr. Opat maintains his own private law practice in Chatfield, Matthew J. Opat, P.A., where his practice includes areas of real estate, probate, general business, civil, and criminal law. He also serves as the prosecutor for the City of Chatfield in petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and gross misdemeanor violations. Previously, Mr. Opat served as the Fillmore County Attorney. Mr. Opat is a member of numerous community organizations, including the Chatfield Center for the Arts Advisory Committee, and is a retired member of the Chatfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Karin Sonneman: Ms. Sonneman is the current Winona County Attorney, handling the duties of the county’s chief criminal prosecutor and counsel for Winona County. She previously served as an Assistant Public Defender for Minnesota’s Third Judicial District, and, prior to that, was a private practice attorney at Sonneman & Sonneman, P.A. Ms. Sonneman is the current Vice-Chair of the Winona County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a member of the Winona Senior High School Band Booster Board, and a member of the Winona County Sheriff’s Advisory Council.

Minnesota’s Third Judicial District consists of Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, and Winona Counties.

An announcement of the appointment will be made following an interview process over the next few weeks.

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