Think our formerly vodka soaked county attorney will throw his hat in?


Judicial applicants sought to replace retiring DeSanto
By News Tribune Today at 12:30 a.m.

John DeSanto, who has spent more than four decades as a prosecutor and judge in Duluth, is set to retire, creating a vacancy on the 6th Judicial District bench.

DeSanto, 68, will step down next month. He has served on the bench since February 2009, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

DeSanto gained notoriety as a young prosecutor for trying Marjorie and Roger Caldwell in the 1977 killings of Duluth heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, Velma Pietila, at the Glensheen Mansion. He later detailed the case in a book, which is widely available locally.

DeSanto spent 35 years as a prosecutor with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office and had a brief stint in private practice before he was appointed to the bench. His term was set to expire in January 2017.

The Commission on Judicial Selection is accepting applications to fill the vacancy. Applications are due by Monday, with interviews scheduled for Sept. 2.

The commission’s recommendations will be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton, who will make the final selection. It will be Dayton’s third opportunity to appoint a judge in the 16-seat district that covers St. Louis, Carlton, Cook and Lake counties.

Interested candidates can request an application by writing to Lee E. Sheehy, chair of the Commission on Judicial Selection, at 116 Veterans Service Building, 20 West 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155, or by contacting Andrew Olson, deputy director of appointments, via email at A cover letter and resume should also be submitted with the application.

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