Local attorney named judge

FAIRMONT – Fairmont attorney Darci Bentz has been appointed district court judge in Jackson County.

Bentz replaces Judge Linda S. Titus, who retired earlier this year.

Bentz’s appointment to the bench was made by Gov. Mark Dayton.

“Ms. Darci Bentz’s long history of public service in the criminal justice system, and many years of dedicated service to her community, have prepared her well for this important position,” Dayton said in a press release. “I am confident Ms. Bentz will serve the people of the Fifth Judicial District with excellence.”

A swearing-in ceremony for Bentz will likely be held next month.

Bentz currently is an assistant public defender for the Fifth Judicial District, where her practice focuses on representing adults and juveniles in criminal cases.

Previously, she was an attorney for the Fairmont firm Scott, Nielsen and Bentz, representing clients in workers compensation cases, unemployment cases and civil litigation. She also was a managing attorney for the Fifth Judicial District Public Defender’s Office.

Bentz is also a member of the Martin/Jackson/Faribault County Family Dependency Court, and serves as the treasurer on the board of directors of Kinship, a nonprofit youth mentoring program.

Bentz beat out three other candidates for the appointment, including Martin County Attorney Terry Viesselman, Assistant Martin County Attorney Mike Trushenski and Cottonwood County Attorney Nicholas Anderson.

In June, the commission on Judicial Selection recommended Viesselman, Trushenski and Anderson as candidates. At Dayton’s request, Bentz was included as a fourth finalist.

Viesselman and Trushenski are both running for the office of Martin County Attorney in the November elections. Attempts to reach them for comment were unsuccessful at press time Tuesday.