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DES MOINES - Gov. Tom Vilsack has appointed Court of Appeals Judge Daryl Hecht to join the Iowa Supreme Court.

Hecht, 54, of Sloan, was one of three finalists for the position. He will fill a vacancy created by Chief Justice Louis Lavorato's retirement, joining the Supreme Court on Sept. 30.

A vote among the Supreme Court justices will determine Lavorato's successor as chief justice.

Hecht said he was grateful to Vilsack and the State Judicial Nominating Commission for selecting him.

"I look forward to the opportunity to serve the citizens of Iowa in a new capacity," he said.

Hecht and his wife, Sandy, have two children. Hecht has served on the Iowa Court of Appeals since 1999, a job he took after practicing as a civil litigator in Sioux City for 22 years.

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"A judge has as his or her goal the dispensation of equal and fair justice, and that's my objective and has been as a member of the Court of Appeals, and I certainly would continue that approach," Hecht said.

The Iowa Supreme Court's new appointee is a 1974 graduate of Morningside College, where he studied political science and history and graduated magna cum laude. Hecht earned his law degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law and his masters of law degree from the University of Virginia.

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"Judge Hecht possesses a keen legal mind, and I was thoroughly impressed by his deep respect for the laws upon which our country was founded," Vilsack said in a statement announcing the appointment. "He will make a fine justice who will continue to serve the people of this state fairly and honorably."

The other finalists included District Judge Arthur Gamble of Des Moines, who has served as the 5th Judicial District's Chief Judge since 1995, and District Judge Dale Ruigh of Ames, who was appointed to the bench in 1981.

A total of 17 judges and lawyers from Iowa applied for the job.

Contact Charlotte Eby at (515) 243-0138 or chareby@aol.com.

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