Daavettila enters district judge race: Looks to replace Wisti

HOUGHTON — A local attorney is entering the race to succeed Mark Wisti as 97th District Court judge.

Nicholas Daavettila is running in the November 2020 elections for the seat, which has a six-year term.

Daavettila said he had been mulling a run for a while. After Judge Mark Wisti decided last week he would not seek re-election, Daavettila decided to throw his hat in the ring.

“Over the last year, I’ve been giving it a lot more thought,” he said. “I think it’d be a good fit for me, and I might be able to do some good there.”

Daavettila has been a lawyer for nearly 17 years, giving him plenty of experience in the district court, he said. That has included criminal cases, civil cases for local banks and other clients, and representing local municipalities for ordinance violations.

“It’s something I am familiar with, the process, procedure and the people,” he said.

The humanitarian focus of the court will be Daavettila’s main focus, he said. As the first step in the legal process for many people who have not been in trouble before, the court gives a judge a chance to stop them or counsel them before they go down the wrong path.

He also plans to continue the treatment court Wisti established.

“That’s been a tremendous success, and I have every intention of expanding that,” he said. “That’s really going to be my focus, serving the community in that capacity and helping people so they don’t have to come back.”

Daavettila graduated from Marquette University’s law school in 2002, getting his license that November. He grew up around the law, learning from his father Joseph, an attorney for more than 30 years. It’s a noble profession, giving you the chance to help people, he said.

“It’s different every day,” he said. “You never know what’s going to walk in the door, but it’s always people who need help. It provides you with a superior opportunity of assisting your fellow man.”