LE CENTER — A drug court defense attorney, a city attorney and a commercial civil litigator are candidates to become judge of the Le Sueur County District Court.

The Commission on Judicial Selection is recommending Patrick Goggins, Robert B. Bauer and Patrick Biren as candidates for a judgeship in the 1st Judicial District. Gov. Tim Walz will select the next judge, who will be chambered at the Le Sueur County Courthouse in Le Center.

The new judge will replace Judge Martha Simonett, who retired earlier this month after more than 20 years on the bench. She was chambered in Dakota County, but due to a series of transfers, the new judge will be in Le Sueur County.

Judge Mark Vandelist is moving from Le Sueur County to Scott County.

Goggins is a partner at Wornson Goggins, a law firm in New Prague, and practices in multiple areas of civil litigation and criminal defense. He also is defense counsel for the Le Sueur County Drug Court.

He previously was an attorney at the 1st Judicial District Public Defender’s Office.

Bauer is vice president of the Dougherty, Molenda, Solfest, Hills & Bauer law firm in Apple Valley. He is city attorney for the city of Eagan and assistant city attorney for the city of Apple Valley.

He previously worked in a Hastings firm and served on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s Lawyer’s Board of Professional Responsibility.

Biren is senior partner at Stich Angell law firm in Minneapolis, representing companies and people in civil claims. He is a volunteer attorney for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid — a nonprofit that serves people who are low-income, elderly or have a disability.

He previously worked at Brownson and Linnihan, a Minneapolis firm representing insurance companies and other corporations.

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Public safety and K-12 education reporter 507-344-6354