Judicial referee, longtime public defender tapped for Moorhead judgeship

Greta Smolnisky will replace a Becker County judge but will be stationed in Moorhead. Another Moorhead-based judge will transfer to Becker County.

Greta Smolnisky Headshot.jpg
Greta Smolnisky.
Contributed photo
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MOORHEAD — A judicial referee will become a judge in Moorhead.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz appointed Greta Smolnisky to replace Judge Jay Carlson in the state's Seventh Judicial District.

“Ms. Smolnisky’s background serving as a judicial officer and a longtime public defender has prepared her well for this important position in Clay County,” Walz said in a statement Wednesday, June 1. “She understands the lived experiences of the people appearing before the court, and she will work every day to ensure that justice is administered fairly and impartially for all that come before her.”

Smolnisky handles family matters as a court referee in the Seventh Judicial District, which includes Becker, Benton, Clay, Douglas, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties.

Carlson was stationed in Becker County before he retired in April, but Smolnisky will be chambered in Moorhead, according to a news release from Walz's office.


Clay County District Judge Michelle Lawson is transferring to Becker County.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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