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Slieter seeking to retain Eighth District judgeship

OLIVIA -- Judge Randall J. Slieter is seeking to retain the Eighth District Court Judge position for Renville County.

He is being challenged by Glen M. "Jake" Jacobsen, as-sistant county attorney for Renville County, in the Nov. 4 general election.

Slieter, 47, was appointed to the bench by Gov. Arne Carlson in 1994. He's been chambered in Renville County during his entire judgeship.

In an e-mail interview with the Tribune, Slieter noted his accomplishments, including that he has accomplished the "most important attribute of a judge, and that is to serve the citizens with a high level of competence, integrity, honesty, fairness and impartiality."

Slieter said he has also made the district court accessible to the public and all the justice partners. "I am convinced that a judge must lead the justice community by example. I have accomplished this by creating and attending collaborative meetings with human services, law enforcement, probation, attorneys, court administration and the public."

Slieter has also been the chairman of judicial branch committees, including those that involve improving technology throughout the state's justice system. He also teaches at William Mitchell College of Law and was named Judge of the Year by the Minnesota District Judges Association in 2002.

He earned his law degree from Hamline University School of Law in 1986 and was an attorney and partner with the firm of Qualley, Boulton and Slieter, of Canby, from 1986 to 1994. Slieter's work there included a broad range of legal matters. He also prosecuted criminal cases for the city of Canby and worked part-time as a public defender.

Slieter's marriage to Renville County court administrator Susan Stahl and whether that creates a conflict of interest has been the subject of several letters to the editor. Slieter says there is not a conflict.

There are seven district court administrators in the district who are responsible for the administration of the cases. All seven serve at the pleasure of the 11 judges in the district and the administrators' direct supervisor is the district administrator. "Therefore, I have no supervisory role over the Renville County district court administrator," Slieter writes.

He also points out that Stahl, a state employee, was appointed to her current position in 1984, 10 years prior to his appointment to the bench.

"Perhaps the more critical question is whether the citizens are served with a high level of professionalism, competence, respect and fairness they should expect -- in Renville County District Court -- regardless of the personal relationship I have with the district court administrator," he writes. "I am confident that, if citizens speak with those who have had such contact, their answer will be an emphatic yes."

Slieter pledges to continue to demonstrate the high level of integrity that citizens of the district expect. "The only promise that a judge (or judicial candidate) should make -- and I so make such a promise -- is that I will handle each case that comes before me with a high level of legal skill, patience, fairness and impartiality."