Duluth attorney Steve Hanke appointed as the next North Shore judge

Duluth attorney Steve Hanke appointed as the next North Shore judge

A decision has been made on who will be the lone judge serving on the North Shore.

Early Thursday morning on Oct. 19, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan announced the appointment of Steve Hanke as District Court Judge in Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District. 

Hanke will replace the Honorable Michael J. Cuzzo and be chambered in Two Harbors in Lake County and Grand Marais in Cook County. Cuzzo served as the judge in Cook County and nearby Lake County, with the county seats in Grand Marais and Two Harbors, respectively. He has been the judge in both counties for more than 12 years, until his retirement earlier this month, on Oct. 2. Cuzzo was first elected for the 6th Judicial District in 2010.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Hanke to the Sixth Judicial District,” said Governor Walz in a statement released on Oct.19. “His dedication to serving his community and commitment to finding creative solutions to challenging issues makes me confident that he will be an excellent jurist for Lake and Cook counties.” 

Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District encompasses Carlton, Cook, Lake, and St. Louis counties.  

“Steve Hanke will be a great addition to the Sixth Judicial District bench,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “His work with Minnesota’s treatment courts and dedication to restorative justice practices makes him uniquely qualified for this position, and I look forward to seeing how he incorporates that experience into his new role.”

Two of the three candidates recommended for the District Court Judge seat in Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District were Cook County residents Molly Hicken and Tyson Smith.

Hanke is an attorney for the City of Duluth, where he practices civil law and prosecutes criminal matters. He is also an adjunct professor in the Human Behavior, Justice, and Diversity Department at the University of Wisconsin–Superior. His community involvement includes volunteering with the Minnesota State Bar Association as a high school mock trial judge, as well as with the Duluth Area Family YMCA and the Duluth Amateur Hockey Association. He also serves as the president of the 11th District Bar Association and as a board member for the Damiano Center.