It was announced Jan. 22, 2013 that Third District public defender Karen Duncan would become the Third Judicial District Judge by Gov. Mark Dayton. This announcement comes after the retirement of Casey Christian, the long-time Third District Judge for the communities of Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca and Winona Counties.
Duncan is the daughter of Les and Gladys Lewis and grew up on a farm near Lewisville. She is also a 1978 graduate of Truman High School.
Her commencement came March 1, 2013, when she was officially sworn in as the Third Judicial District Judge. The event was viewed by friends, family and more than 200 attendees. The ceremony lasted about an hour long, said Duncan’s mother. She said Duncan was honored to have retired Judge Gerald Wolf come out of retirement to swear her into the position. Duncan had worked as a law clerk for Judge Wolf after graduating from law school.
“We were obviously very proud of her,” said Gladys. “She is a very dedicated, hard worker, and she’s always prepared.”
These are good qualities for a judge. Gladys said Duncan had enjoyed her previous position as public defender, but was looking forward to the new challenge. Duncan said she believes she can do more good as a judge than she could as the public defender.
Though the first few weeks will be challenging for Duncan, the opportunity will allow for her to spend less time traveling and more time with her family. In a quote following her commencement, Duncan said she would be happy staying in the Third District until her retirement.