WILLMAR -- Glen Jacobsen, assistant county attorney in Renville County, is challenging District Judge Kathryn N. Smith for District 8 judge in the Nov. 2 election.
Voters in the entire 8th Judicial District will vote in the election. The district includes 13 counties from Wilkin County to Renville County.
"If I am elected to serve as your district court judge, you can expect that I will do everything in my power to ensure that justice is done, in all types of cases, as efficiently as possible," Jacobsen wrote in response to an e-mail inquiry by the Tribune.
"I will ensure that justice is done for all that come before me, that the guilty are punished and the innocent set free.
Jacobsen has not previously served in elected office. He unsuccessfully challenged 8th Judicial District Judge Randall Slieter in 2008.
Jacobsen is a native of Albert Lea who worked as a child care worker at St. Joseph's Home for Children and at the Hennepin County juvenile detention facility after college. He was a contract prosecutor in the Twin Cities area for 10 years before becoming the chief deputy county attorney in Mower County in 1997. He took his current position in Renville County in 2002.
He identifies the punishment meted out by the courts as a key election issue. "If you do the crime, you should do the time," is an old-fashioned and almost trite phrase, but Jacobsen sees that rehabilitative efforts by the court system vastly outweigh punishment.
"I fully support rehabilitation, including treatment, counseling, circle sentencing options, restitution and community service, but I believe that punishment for wrongdoing is also necessary," he says.
Jacobsen acknowledges that the courts have done a wonderful job of providing essential services despite decreasing funding and staffing, but asserts that the courts must learn to become even more efficient. The current scheduling of a specific period of time for each case has become a luxury we can no longer afford, he says. The courts and the attorneys will have to work together to allow the court to deal with more cases with less wasted time.
Juvenile cases, both delinquency cases and cases of children in need of protection or services, need a lot more time and attention by the court, probation, human services, schools and other professionals and agencies, Jacobsen says.
"We must make the time and devote the attention to our children and young people if we want to end the revolving door cycle of children in need becoming teenage delinquents, who then turn into the young adults involved in our criminal justice system, and who are too often creating more children that are in need of the time and attention of social services, law enforcement and government officials," he says.