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Fergus Falls courthouse is renamed

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Fergus Falls courthouse is renamed
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the renaming of the United States Courthouse in Fergus Falls, located at 118 S. Mill St.

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The courthouse will be renamed after the late Judge Edward J. Devitt, one of Minnesota’s most distinguished public servants. The renaming will take place in formal ceremony at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22, in which Chief Judge Michael J. Davis will preside.

The official name of the building will be the Edward J. Devitt United States Courthouse and Federal Building.

The Honorable Edward J. Devitt was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1911. He attended St. John’s College Preparatory School and St. John’s University in Collegeville.

Judge Devitt earned his law degree and bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

In 1935 he was elected Municipal Judge in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. In 1942, Judge Devitt left Minnesota to serve as an officer in the United States Navy during World War II. He received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained aboard the U.S.S. Caldwell during the Battle of the Philippines.

After the War, Judge Devitt returned to Minnesota and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1946.

In 1950, he became a Ramsey County Probate Judge and served as such until 1954, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed him to the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

Judge Devitt would serve on the federal bench for the next 38 years, becoming chief judge of the district in 1959 and serving in that capacity until 1981 when he assumed senior status.

In 1982, West Publishing created the prestigious Devitt Award to recognize and honor an exceptional federal judge each year. This national award continues to be presented annually by the American Judicature Society. Judge Devitt passed away on March 2, 1992 at age 80.

Chief Judge Michael J. Davis stated, “The judges of the District of Minnesota are extremely honored that the Fergus Falls Courthouse is being named after Judge Edward J. Devitt. Judge Devitt was not only an outstanding jurist in Minnesota but also nationally.

“The court applauds the efforts of Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Collin Peterson in sponsoring the legislation to rename the courthouse.”

GSA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Ann P. Kalayil stated, “The naming of the federal courthouse in Fergus Falls celebrates Judge Devitt’s legacy as a dedicated public servant and veteran. This building that now bears his name honors his contributions and all that he has given to the state of Minnesota and this country.”

The U.S. Courthouse was built in 1902 and its current tenants include the U.S. District Court and Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Probation offices. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2012.

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