The Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection on Friday recommended three candidates to Gov. Tim Walz to fill a vacancy in Virginia’s Sixth Judicial District.
Candidates to replace the retiring Judge Gary Pagliaccetti are attorneys Bhupesh Pattni, Andrew Peterson and Bruce Williams.
Pattni is currently an attorney for Trenti Law Firm with a focus on probate, real estate, business and civil litigation. He is also an assistant public defender for the Sixth Judicial District where he defends clients ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses, and represents children in the foster care system. His community involvement includes serving as a member of the Equal Justice Initiative Committee, Law Library Trustee, Range Bar Association as a current member, past president, and past treasurer, Range Bar Ethics Committee, Board of Directors for the Volunteer Attorney Program as co-chair of the board, and the Board of Directors for Lyric Center for the Arts.
Peterson is an attorney and shareholder of Cope & Peterson Ltd. working in all aspects of civil litigation, criminal law, real estate, business law, and municipal law. Previously, he was a law clerk at SiebenCarey. Peterson is certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a Civil Trial Specialist and a Real Property Specialist. His community involvement includes the Volunteer Attorney Program, Range Bar Association, Domestic Violence Court Exploratory Committee, Virginia Educational Fund, Quad Cities Rotary Club, Minnesota Association of Justice, and others.
Williams is a solo practitioner in Virginia, where he practices in general litigation, including family law and criminal defense. He has been certified as a criminal trial specialist since 2005. In addition to serving on the Federal Public Defender Conflicts Panel, he is also a part-time attorney in the Sixth District Public Defender’s Office, where he represents clients charged with felonies. His community involvement includes the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, the Minnesota Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal Education, 2019 North Star Award recipient for over 50 hours pro bono work, a previous member of the Ethics Panel for the 20th District Minnesota Bar Association and volunteer high school football coach.
Pagliaccetti announced his retirement in early July and interviews to fill the vacancy started on Monday.
Pagliaccetti began his career working for the St. Louis County Attorney’s juvenile, welfare and criminal divisions in 1980, before joining a private practice from 1983-89. Between 1987 and 1989, he was an assistant public defender. Iron Range bred former Gov. Rudy Perpich appointed him to the bench on July 1, 1989. He was re-elected in 1990 and every six years since. His current term is set to expire in January 2021.
He also served as Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial District from 2000-04 and Assistant Chief Judge from 1996-2000 and then again from 2012-16. He is a graduate of St. John’s University in Collegeville and Hamline University School of Law, both of Minnesota.