Commission On Judicial Selection Recommends 7th Judicial District Candidates
The Commission on Judicial Selection announced three recommended candidates to Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday for consideration to fill the current vacancy in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District.
Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District consists of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd, and Wadena Counties. The vacancy occurred upon the retirement of the Honorable Frederick L. Grunke and will be chambered in St. Cloud in Stearns County.
Matthew Engelking: Mr. Engelking is a senior attorney in the Stearns County Attorney’s Office, where his caseload primarily consists of child abuse, sexual assault, and jury trial experience in a wide variety of matters. Previously, Engelking was a criminal defense attorney at Engelking Law Office, while doing pro bono work in assisting victims of domestic violence. His community involvement includes the Central Minnesota Child Advocacy Center Steering & Administrative Committee, Stearns County Domestic Violence Partnership and Chair of the Child Trauma Task Force Subcommittee.
Tara Ferguson Lopez: Ms. Lopez is currently a Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney in the Child Protection Division, where she represents the Health and Human Services Department and handles cases involving child protection and welfare matters. Previously, Lopez was a Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney in the Adult Prosecution Division, where she supervised a team of trial attorneys and oversaw domestic assault prosecutions. Lopez has also worked as an Assistant County Attorney in the Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office and in private practice. Lopez serves on the St. Cloud Public Library Board, the 4th Judicial District Domestic Fatality Review Board, and Family Violence Coordinating Council.
Karl Schmidt: Mr. Schmidt is currently a senior assistant attorney in Benton County. His work focuses on prosecuting adult felony cases to completion, as well as all extradition, fugitive from justice matters, and detainers under the Interstate Compact. Previously, Schmidt was an assistant public defender prosecuting adult felonies, gross misdemeanors, juvenile delinquencies, and child protection. Schmidt’s community involvement includes 18 years on both the Benton County Benefits Advisory Committee and Benton County Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council, as well as volunteering for Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity.