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Carver County District Judge Jean Davies of Chaska died Tuesday in Rochester of complications from brain surgery.

Davies had undergone surgery for a congenital malformation in February. She was 55. Davies graduated from Edina High School and attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., then completed a bachelor's degree in 1974 at the University of Minnesota.

In 1979, she graduated from St. Paul's William Mitchell College of Law and shortly afterward joined the Carver County attorney's office.

In 1993, Davies was appointed a district judge by Gov. Arne Carlson.

Judge William Macklin, chief judge of the district, said she was "smart" and "well-grounded in the law."

"She could fashion remedies in a particular case in a very human and compassionate way," he said.

He said she was great help to the district court outside the courtroom, because she served on its executive committee, handling logistics and budget matters.

Davies was instrumental in getting more space for the court.

"She could be hard-line when she needed to be, but was a negotiator and could get things done," said Macklin. "She had common sense."

Most of Davies' cases came from Carver County, but she worked cases in nearby counties such as Scott, Sibley and Le Sueur.

In July 2002, Davies was the judge in the case of licensed day-care provider Sheri L. Alger, who was convicted for shaking Isiah Devine on July 3, 2001, and inflicting injuries that caused his death nearly a month later.

Davies sentenced Alger to 15 years of prison, imposing a sentence that is 2 1/2 years longer than recommended by state guidelines. She cited the vulnerability of the child, who was treated with particular cruelty, and Alger's position of trust.

In an April 1997 case, Davies ruled for the pop star Prince, keeping a veil of secrecy over his efforts to stop two former employees from talking to the news media about the death of his infant son. Davies ruled that the lawsuit "involves a purely private contractual dispute" and that "no one has any reason to know the details at this stage," according to an April 12, 1997, Star Tribune article.

Davies enjoyed spending time with her family at their cabin in Moose Lake, Minn.

For decades, she participated in the family deer hunt around Moose Lake, first with her father and later with her son Daniel Shively of Baltimore.

"I am not sure she ever fired her gun, nor did she have any intent to," said her son.

In addition to Daniel, she is survived by her husband, Gregg Davies of Chaska; sons Brett Davies of Ely, Minn., and Jared Davies of Cologne, Minn.; daughters Rachel Novak of Chicago and Joanna Shively of Carver, Minn.; mother, Ruth Johnson of Edina; a sister, Karen Bergseth of Minneapolis; her former husband, Thomas Shively of Edmond, Okla., and four grandchildren. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Westwood Community Church, 3121 Westwood Drive, Excelsior.