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Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Judge Allen Oleisky Day!

Beloved is rarely an adjective you see used before a judge's name any more, but if it is appropriate anywhere for a member of the local bench, it is appropriate before the name of retiring Hennepin County District Court Judge Allen Oleisky. Oleisky is the state's longest serving judge, having been appointed a municipal court judge in Hennepin County 36 years ago, when he was just 34. (The municipal court was later merged into the District Court.)

I recall that when the Hennepin County Bar Association used to conduct a plebiscite in which lawyers voted whether or not judges should be retained, Oleisky was a top vote-getter. His name always comes up when lawyers list off judges they respect.

It is unfortunate that the state requires that judges retire on their 7oth birthday. It seems a waste that, through an arbitrary cut-off line, the state deprives its citizens of wise and experienced, albeit somewhat gray, heads. Personally, I would much rather have the 70-year-old Oleisky presiding over my case than the 34-year-old one, but the state seems to have a preference for the latter. I think forced retirement at 70 is an anachronism that itself ought to be retired.

In any event, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has declared today Allen Oleisky Day. It is fitting that the governor has done so. We at the Minnesota Lawyer blog would like to take this opportunity to thank the good judge for his many excellent years of service to the people of this state. We wish him well in his new career as an ADR provider.
Judge Oleisky at his retirement party last week
with Court Administrator Mark Thompson

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