Chris Polking, a longtime Carroll attorney and former magistrate, has been appointed a district court judge by Gov. Kim Reynolds. He’ll serve in the same district as Gina Badding, another Carroll attorney who recently was appointed a district judge. (Photo by Jared Strong)
Chris Polking, a longtime Carroll attorney and former magistrate, has been appointed a district court judge by Gov. Kim Reynolds. He’ll serve in the same district as Gina Badding, another Carroll attorney who recently was appointed a district judge. (Photo by Jared Strong)

July 5, 2019

Chris Polking, a Carroll native who has practiced law here for nearly two decades and served about half that time as a magistrate, was appointed last week a district court judge by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

This was the sixth time Polking had applied for the post and the third time his name made the final list presented to a governor.

“All the feedback I got was always positive, and that kept me motivated to keep applying,” Polking said.

His no-nonsense, unflappable demeanor has long been a staple at the Carroll County courthouse, where for nine years he worked as a magistrate until 2017, when state officials cut the number of magistrates in Carroll from two to one.

Polking, 47, and his wife Thetia, a juvenile court officer, live in Carroll with their four children: Sophia, 14, Jameson, 12, and twins Quinten and Kieran, 11.

Polking graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2001 and joined his father William to practice law in Carroll at the Polking Law Office.

William Polking also was a longtime magistrate and retired at age 72. Chris applied for the job and took his place in 2008.

“Chris Polking, like his father Bill, is a brilliant and fair person,” Carroll County Attorney John Werden said. “Chris will be a great judge.”

As a part-time magistrate, Chris Polking handled lower-level criminal offenses, initial court appearances and small civil claims, among other duties in Carroll County. All the while he represented local residents for issues of family law, probate, wills, trusts and real estate transactions, among others.

He has about a month to remove himself from any active cases at the firm. Being a district judge is a full-time job, and those judges must avoid potential conflicts of interest.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Polking said of his appointment. “This is something I’ve been working toward for a long time. Leaving your practice and your clients behind, that’s the only negative.”

His appointment to district 2B — which encompasses 13 counties, including Carroll — follows another recent appointment in April of a local attorney, Gina Badding, 40.

District judges handle higher-level criminal and civil cases.

As a magistrate I liked hearing and deciding cases,” Polking said. “I’m looking forward to doing that in a wider range of jurisdiction.”