Commission recommends three names to fill Seventh Judicial District vacancy – InForum

MOORHEAD — The Commission on Judicial Selection has announced it is recommending three candidates to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz for consideration to fill a vacancy in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District.

The vacancy occurred upon the retirement of the Honorable Jay D. Carlson. The seat will be chambered at Moorhead in Clay County.

The candidates include Michael Leeser, Mara Rausch, and Greta Smolnisky.

Leeser is an assistant county attorney in Clay County, where he prosecutes adult criminal and juvenile cases.

Mike Leeser Headshot.jpg

Mike Leeser.

Special to The Forum

He is a member of the Clay County Drug Court and Clay County Veteran’s Court teams. Leeser was previously an attorney with Lies, Bullis & Hatting and an assistant city attorney for the city of Wahpeton, ND

He was also an adjunct professor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he taught a course on the introduction to law for the Healthcare Administration program.

Rausch is the managing attorney of the Seventh Judicial District Public Defender’s Office in Moorhead.

Mara Rausch Headshot.png

Mara Rausch.

Special to The Forum

In that role, she supervises attorneys and staff in Becker and Clay counties, and she represents clients in adult criminal proceedings.

Rausch previously spent time in private practice, where she represented clients in criminal matters and parents and children in child protection matters.

Smolnisky is a district court referee in the Seventh Judicial District, where she handles the family court calendar.

Greta Smolnisky Headshot.jpg

She was previously an assistant public defender in the Seventh and Eighth Judicial Districts, and an attorney with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid.

Smolnisky also spent time in private practice, where she represented clients in immigration, family law, civil commitment, appellate, and probate matters.

For more information about the judicial selection process, visit the Governor’s Judicial Appointments webpage .

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