MOORHEAD — Moorhead has two new state district court judges, the office of Gov. Mark Dayton announced Tuesday, April 3.
Dayton appointed Amber B. Gustafson and Tammy L. Merkins as Seventh Judicial District judges who will be chambered in Moorhead. They'll fill in the Clay County judgeship vacancies caused by the retirements of Steven J. Cahill and Galen J. Vaa.
Gustafson owns Gustafson Law in Moorhead and specializes in family law, mediation and criminal defense. She's also the defense counsel for the Clay and Becker County Veterans Treatment Court. Gustafson is a former sergeant in the Minnesota Army National Guard, and she's previously worked as an associate for Oster Law Office, an attorney advisor for the Social Security Administration and a judicial law clerk to two judges.
Merkins is the Becker County Attorney who also participates in and supervises attorneys for the local drug court, veterans treatment court and DWI court. She previously served as an Assistant Becker County Attorney, in addition to working as a partner at Thorwaldsen, Malmstrom, Sorum, Majors & Merkins and an attorney at Westrick & McDowell-Nix.
Clay County Attorney Brian Melton also applied for the appointment, he confirmed to The Forum last month.
Dayton's announcement included two additional appointments to fill more vacancies on the Seventh Judicial District, which includes the counties of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena.
Douglas B. Clark will be chambered in Wadena and replace Sally Ireland Robertson. Kevin M. Miller, who will be chambered in Fergus Falls, will replace Waldemar B. Senyk.