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DL's Evans named district judge

Becker County Attorney Joe Evans was named a Minnesota district judge Friday by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Evans will fill the trial court bench vacancy that will occur with the retirement of Thomas Schroeder on Oct. 26, so he will be based in Detroit Lakes.

Pawlenty named Evans to the judgeship at a packed courthouse ceremony in Detroit Lakes, attended by family, friends and local officials.

Pawlenty said he looks for judges with both intelligence and wisdom, with good hearts, varied life interests, community involvement and sound judicial temperament.

"I think Joe is going to be a great judicial court judge for Minnesota, and this district," he said.

Pawlenty thanked Richard Pemberton Sr. of Fergus Falls, who has helped select district judge finalists for the past 12 years, both statewide and for the seventh judicial district.

The governor called him the dean of the legal profession in northwestern Minnesota, and said he is part of the reason the judicial selection system works so well in Minnesota -- the appointments are not political, they are based on merit.

"One reason we have such a great state is we have a very highly functioning judicial system, at the top of the list nationally," Pawlenty said.

Judges are often considered a governor's legacy, Evans told the crowd, adding that "I will do everything I can to make this a good and beneficial legacy for Gov. Pawlenty."

He thanked his staff and said he's glad to be able to accept a new career challenge while remaining in Becker County, working with law enforcement officers, attorneys and county employees that he already knows.

"All the things that happen in this room involve the most important things in life, and we all have to try to do justice," he said.

Evans, of Detroit Lakes, has been the Becker County Attorney since 1994. He was an assistant Becker County Attorney from 1976 through 1993, as well as an associate attorney (1976 through 1977) and shareholder (1978 through 2001) with the Detroit Lakes law firm of Benshoof, Hummel and Sinclair.

Evans earned his juris doctorate degree from the University of Washington Law School in Seattle in 1976, and his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1973.

The other two finalists -- an honor in itself -- were tribal college professor David W. DeGroat of Ogema, and St. Cloud attorney Kevin S. Carpenter.