Governor appoints Kaminsky to fill judicial vacancy

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Former Sherburne County Attorney Walter Kaminsky, of Elk River, has been appointed a district court judge by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Walter Kaminksy
Walter Kaminksy

The governor’s office announced the appointment Wednesday. Kaminsky was one of three finalists for the position. He will be replacing the Honorable Robert B. Varco, who passed away earlier this year. The judgeship will be chambered in Elk River.

“Walter Kaminsky’s extensive legal experience and his commitment to public service have prepared him well to take on this important position,” the governor said in a statement. “Throughout his career, Mr. Kaminsky has helped enhance professional and ethical standards in the legal community. I am confident he will demonstrate those same high standards in his own work on behalf of the 10th Judicial District.”

Kaminsky said Thursday that he’s very happy about the appointment.

“It was an honor to serve as the Sherburne County attorney for seven years,” he said. “I look forward to serving as a district court judge, seated in Elk River, for many years to come. I’m very thankful that the governor’s office and the Judicial Selection Commission chose me.”

A swearing-in date has not yet been set. It will be sometime in September, he said.

Kaminsky is an attorney with Lindell and Lavoie, LLP, where he practices personal injury litigation and criminal defense. He served as Sherburne County attorney from 1996 to 2002 and was a partner and criminal defense attorney with Terpstra, Black, Brandell, Kaminsky & Hoffman in Elk River. Kaminsky received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois – Chicago and his law degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law.

Additionally, Kaminsky has served on the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee, Minnesota Association for Justice, and was a volunteer attorney with Central Minnesota Legal Services. He is also a board member of the Guardian Angels Care Center’s Finance and Ethics Committee and is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Big Lake Chapter.

Minnesota’s 10th Judicial District consists of Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington and Wright counties.

Other finalists for the judgeship were Bridgid Dowdal and Matthew Staehling. Dowdal is the chief legal counsel for the Office of Inspector General at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Staehling is the city attorney for the city of St. Cloud.