Passing judgement on Mark Rasmuson

Judge Mark Rasmuson, recently featured in a Prairie Profile by Minot Daily News reporter Kim Fundingsland, is not only an interesting “read” but a fine example for others who might seek public office some day.

First elected municipal judge in 1974, Rasmuson attended Minot State University and went on to get his law degree from the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks.

While nobody wants to end up in court, appearing before Rasmuson, historically, has been far less intimidating than most people would expect. Perhaps that is why Judge Rasmuson has been re-elected so many times. Voters obviously have great confidence in his decision making. Rasmuson does have some help, though, when it comes to passing sentence.

As pointed out in Fundingsland’s article, mandatory fines exist for a lot of the offenses that come before a municipal judge.

“I don’t have much discretion,” explained Rasmuson. “There’s a lot of mandatory sentences in both traffic and criminal violations like driving under the influence and driving under suspension. Hopefully people learn from their experiences in court.”

Yes, hopefully people do learn from their experiences in court. And any way Rasmuson, or any other local judge for that matter, can make that a positive experience serves to improve our society. Justice must be meted out evenly; most people recognize when they have been treated fairly and presumably are less likely to repeat their offense.

Rasmuson is up for re-election in 2018 and has indicated that he wants to keep the job. While it is way too early for endoresments, we can say with enthusiasm that Rasmuson is exactly the kind of person we like to see in public service.

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