The Clearwater County Attorney's Office strives to promote justice, public safety and effective government by prosecuting crime, protecting those in need, and representing Clearwater County.

 County Civil Counsel

The County Attorney is the legal advisor for the Clearwater County Board of Commissioners, county department heads and other county agencies. As the legal advisor for the county, the County Attorney serves in a role that is similar to that of an inhouse corporate counsel, but for the benefit of the public. The County Attorney provides legal advice to assist the County in providing many public services such as waste management, child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults. Other areas of civil advice include defending challenges to property tax values, representing the Human Services Department on welfare appeals, enforcing county environment and health ordinances, and forfeiting property used in connection with criminal activity.

 Criminal Prosecution

The County Attorney is the chief prosecutor for crimes which occur within the county. Prosecution involves bringing charges against a party, trying the case in court, and making sentencing recommendations. The County Attorney prosecutes felony offenses (such as murder, sexual assault, drug offenses and child abuse), as well as misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses. The City of Bagley contracts with the Clearwater County Attorney's Office to prosecute specific crimes that occur in Bagley. However, Attorney Ed Rasmussen handles the civil aspects for the City of Bagley.

In order to charge a crime, the County Attorney must be able to prove that there is probable cause to believe a specific defendant committed a specific crime on a specific date within the county. To convict, the County Attorney must prove those same facts beyond a reasonable doubt.

 Juvenile Prosecution

The County Attorney is the prosecutor in all cases involving juvenile offenders. These range from curfew violations to the most serious felony criminal behavior. The County Attorney oversees diversion programs which allow minor offenders to receive consequences without going to court. These programs are intended to reduce repeat offenses. While a goal of juvenile court is rehabilitation of offenders, due to public safety concerns, the County Attorney may ask the court to certify a juvenile to stand trial as an adult. Upon conviction, the juvenile could then receive all potential adult sanctions, including a prison sentence.

 Victim/Witness Assistance

The County Attorney provides assistance and support to the victims and witnesses who play a vital role in the criminal justice system. They advise victims of crime of their legal rights. The County Attorney's Office works closely with the various victim services groups within and surrounding the county. The County Attorney will request restitution for losses suffered by crime victims.





County Jail and Detention Facilities

Call the Jail directly (218-694-6226)


Minnesota Department of Corrections Facilities

Call the DOC Victim Assistance Program (800-657-3830)


To track the incarceration status of an offender please visit Vinelink at and follow the prompts, or call 1-877-664-8463

For information on financial compensation in cases of violent crime please call the Minnesota Crime Victims Reparations Board at 651-201-7300 or toll-free at 888-622-8799 or visit


To Connect with Local Resources:

Minnesota Crime Victims Support Line 866-385-2699 (all types of crime)

Day One Crisis Line 866-223-1111 (Domestic Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Trafficking Victims)


Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Services


To contact someone regarding victim services please contact:

Office of Justice Programs

445 Minnesota St., Suite 2300

St. Paul, MN 55101-1515





651-201-7300 (Main)

888-622-8799 (Toll Free)

651-296-5787 (Fax)


Equal Opportunity Statement

The Clearwater County Attorney's Office is an equal opportunity employer and extends those protections to the victims of crimes. Clearwater County Attorney's Office is committed to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, or any other protected characteristic as outlined by federal, state, or local laws.

This Policy extends to our advocacy on behalf of victims. Clearwater County makes charging and settlement decisions based solely on qualifications, merit, and evidence of each case. 

 Family Cases

The County Attorney initiates CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection or Services) petitions to protect abused or neglected children in the county. The County Attorney starts legal proceedings to protect the health and safety of vulnerable adults within the county when they are in need of assistance. The County Attorney also files involuntary commitment actions to provide necessary treatment for individuals who are mentally ill or chemically dependent, or sexually dangerous. The County Attorney contracts with the Department of Human Services to handle paternity and child support and contempt cases on its behalf.


Because the County Attorney is advisor to the County and its personnel, the position does not entail giving legal advice to the general public. Citizens may feel that they are entitled to free legal advice because their taxes pay for the County Attorney position, but that is contrary to the statutory responsibilities outlined for County Attorneys. If the County Attorney advices properly, all citizens benefit.

County Attorneys are not investigators and do not investigate crimes. All complaints of a crime need to be reported to law enforcement officers, who then gather the evidence and submit the case to the prosecutor for review and a charging decision.