Kirk speaks about tough cases as a county attorney

Michael Kirk.jpg
Former Otter Tail County Attorney Michael Kirk, who later became a judge, spoke Oct. 22 during the annual meeting of the county historical society held at the Pelican Rapids VFW. (Photo by Tom Hintgen / Otter Tail County Correspondent)

PELICAN RAPIDS -- The role of a county attorney can be especially difficult from a psychological perspective, former Otter Tail County Attorney Michael Kirk said.

Kirk spoke Oct. 22 at the annual meeting of the Otter Tail County Historical Society at the Pelican Rapids VFW.

“It’s especially tough as a county attorney when you have crimes committed that are harmful to children,” he said.

Kirk served as county attorney for Otter Tail County from 1978 to 1989.

He became a district court judge in 1989 when he was appointed by Minnesota Gov. Rudy Perpich. He was elected to six-year terms by voters in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010.


Kirk later became chief judge with the Seventh Judicial District. In 2012 he was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to served on the Court of Appeals and is now a senior judge.

When he first became county attorney in the 1970s, he wanted to gain a better insight of law enforcement. To that end he rode along with county sheriff deputies on weekends.

Kirk became a close friend of county sheriff's Deputy Andy Lindquist who also was chairman of the Dane Prairie Township board, southeast of Fergus Falls and southwest of Underwood.

“Andy used to kiddingly call me Captain Kirk, in reference to the 'Star Trek' television series,” Kirk said.

Kirk graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Law and served in private practice from 1975 to 1978 with the Williams and Nitz Law Firm in Fergus Falls.

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