News Item
Seventh Judicial District Judge Michael L. Kirk Appointed to Minnesota Court of Appeals

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of the Honorable Michael L. Kirk as the new judge for the Seventh Congressional District seat on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. This vacancy was created by the upcoming mandatory retirement of Judge Roger M. Klaphake.

About the appointment, Governor Dayton said, “Judge Kirk has an outstanding record of public service, as seen through his 23 years of service on the bench in the Seventh Judicial District.  His passion for justice, and his years of experience will make him an excellent Appellate Judge in the Seventh Congressional District.”  

Judge Kirk has served as a Seventh Judicial District Court Judge since 1989 when he was appointed by Governor Perpich.  During this time, he has served as the Chief Judge of the District from 2005 to 2009 and the Assistant Chief Judge of the District from 2000 to 2005.  He currently serves as one of two Judges presiding over a Domestic Violence Specialty Court in Moorhead.  Prior to his appointment, Judge Kirk was the Otter Tail County Attorney and earlier maintained a private law practice with the Williams, Nelson and Nitz Law Firm in Fergus Falls. He graduated from high school in Fairmont, Minnesota and received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1972, and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1975.

During his years of service Judge Kirk has been appointed by the Chief Justice to the Criminal Justice Forum, Chair of the Courts’ Finance Committee and to both ASD I and ASD II, which were committees established to develop efficiencies as a result of the challenges of declining Court resources caused by the State’s budget shortfalls.  He was also appointed by the Chief Justice to serve on the Supreme Court’s committees on the Rules of Evidence, Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Rules of Child Protection Procedure. He is a member of Fraser, Ltd’s Board of Directors and is a former coach in youth hockey, baseball and football programs. Judge Kirk resides with his wife Joan and their children in Moorhead.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals handles most of the appeals from the final decisions of the trial courts, state agencies and local governments. It is composed of judges who are initially appointed from Minnesota’s eight congressional districts as well as eleven judges who serve in an at-large capacity.