An attorney who had a state-wide impact on how civil forfeiture cases are handled by they state has been promoted in the Isanti County Attorney’s Office.
Effective Monday, Oct. 15, Shila Walek-Hooper will be the Chief Deputy Isanti County Attorney. She replaces Thomas Wedes, who has resigned to take a position with the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
Walek-Hooper has been as assistant Isanti County Attorney since April 2006. She graduated from St. Cloud State in 2000 and from Hamline Law School in 2004. Prior to joining Isanti County she worked as a judicial law clerk.
Since joining Isanti County, Walek-Hooper has worked on civil cases, child support, guardianship and conservators, civil forfeitures and juvenile cases.
“What impressed me is the depth of experience Shila’s developed in the civil process,” said Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad, who recommended Walek-Hooper for the appointment. “She’s a state-wide representative and has received state-wide recognition by her peers for her work in the civil forfeiture process. It’s rewarding to see how she’s developed and grown over the years.”
Walek-Hooper said she’s excited for the new opportunity.
“I feel very honored to have been offered this new position,” Walek-Hooper said. “I’m excited about the new opportunity and the new challenge. I’m looking forward to working with new agencies as a result of this new position.”
Edblad explained the role of the chief deputy county attorney is the “true second in command position.”
“The chief deputy is the senior partner in the county attorney’s office and has the authority to act on my behalf if I’m not available,” Edblad said. “She will now be a part of the management team in the office, but also continue to carry a case load. She will still have day-to-day litigation she will be responsible for that will include juvenile delinquencies, civil forfeitures and a bit of modified child support.”
Walek-Hooper feels the Isanti County Attorney’s Office has been a good fit for her.
“I feel Jeff (Edblad) has given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” Walek-Hooper said. “He’s always been there to provide guidance and recommendations. As I young attorney, I was able to argue a case at the Minnesota Supreme Court and that was a really phenomenal opportunity, and it was nice for our office that we came out on top in that case.”
Edblad explained the case Walek-Hooper argued at the Minnesota Supreme Court level regarding the law on civil forfeiture impacted the entire state. The case was argued in April 2009 with the decision rendered in December.
“This was a case that allowed the Supreme Court to clarify the law on civil forfeiture and that was a benefit for 87 counties in Minnesota and all law enforcement agencies,” Edblad said. “It was also significant for this office and was a case that had state-wide impact. It was a significant victory for law enforcement and I credit the hard work and tenacity of Shila in obtaining that decision.”
Edblad feels Walek-Hooper will be a good fit as chief deputy county attorney. He noted the Isanti County Law Enforcement Association presented her with an award in 2010 due to her excellent work in civil practice.
“Shila has a demeanor that has carried a significant amount of respect, not only with our staff and local law enforcement, but with the entire court system,” Edblad said. “Shila has a great amount of experience, and is the right person for the position at this time. I have full faith and confidence in her as our senior partner in the county attorney’s office.”