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Panel that decided Franken-Coleman race wins award

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Three-judge panel
The three-judge panel that heard the Coleman/Franken case -- from left, Pennington County Assistant Chief Judge Kurt Marben, Hennepin County Assistant Chief Judge Denise Reilly, and Stearns County Judge Elizabeth Hayden.
AP Pool-Pioneer Press/Ben Garvin

The state's judges are paying tribute to the three-judge panel that decided the winner of Minnesota's disputed U.S. Senate election between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman.

      The Minnesota District Judges Foundation has presented its Community Service Award to Judges Elizabeth Hayden of Stearns County, Kurt Marben of Pennington County and Denise Reilly of Hennepin County. 

It says they displayed "the highest levels of professionalism, public service, and judicial independence and integrity."

      The three judges declared Franken the winner by 312 votes in April. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the panel's decision in June. Coleman decided not to appeal further, clearing the way for Franken to take his seat in July.

      The foundation presented the award last Thursday in St. Cloud.