Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton announced the appointments of Christina Wietzema, a native of Pierz, and Michelle Winkis Lawson as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Fifth and Seventh Judicial Districts.
Wietzema will replace the Honorable Bruce F. Gross who retired earlier this year. Lawson will replace the Honorable Michael L. Kirk who was appointed earlier this year to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Wietzema’s seat will be co-chambered in Cottonwood and Murray Counties in the Fifth Judicial District. , while Lawson’s seat will be chambered in Moorhead in Clay County in Minnesota’s Seventh Judicial District.
Wietzema currently works as an Assistant Public Defender for the Fifth Judicial District where she represents indigent clients in all areas of public defense. Prior to this, she represented clients in family law, real property and criminal law as an associate attorney with Bernardy and Scholl, P.A. Ms. Wietzema is a member of the Rock Nobles Community Corrections Advisory Board and is a volunteer mock trial judge. She is also an active volunteer with St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Lawson serves as the Chief Assistant Clay County Attorney for the Civil Division, and has served as the Interim Clay County Attorney. Prior to this, she worked as a facilitator for the University of Mary and was an associate attorney with the Vogel Law Firm. Ms. Lawson is a member of the Clay County Children’s Justice Initiative and is a former member of the Moorhead Rotary Club.
Minnesota’s Fifth Judicial Districts consists of Blue Earth, Brown, Cottonwood, Faribault, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock and Watonwan counties and the Seventh Judicial District consists of Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties.
Wietzema lives in Worthington with her husband, Todd, and two sons, Zach, 12, and Tyler, 10. She is the daughter of Jim and Arlene Boser of Pierz and has two brothers, Craig and Cory. She graduated with honors from Healy High School in 1986; with honors from Concordia College in Moorhead and from the Hamline School of Law.
Arlene Boser said she and her husband found out Monday night that her daughter had been appointed as a judge. “She found out 15 minutes before she called us,” said Boser.
“It’s just unbelievable, I can’t come down out of the clouds yet,” she said. “It’s amazing that someone from this area has been appointed as a judge.”