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Julie Allyn (from left), Maximillia Utley andTerri Yellowhammer
Julie Allyn (from left), Maximillia Utley andTerri Yellowhammer

Bar Buzz: Walz names three Hennepin County judges

The governor has filled three judgeships on the Hennepin County bench.

Gov. Tim Walz’s office made the announcements on Oct. 2. All three new judges will chamber in Minneapolis. They are:

Julie Allyn. She is an assistant Minnesota U.S. attorney with 20 years of experience prosecuting major felony crimes ranging from murders to international and domestic terrorism. Allyn was a key member of the team that extracted a confession from Danny Heinrich in the murder of Jacob Wetterling.

“Ms. Allyn, who has successfully handled many state and federal criminal matters, has demonstrated a strong aptitude as a prosecutor,” Walz said in a press release announcing the appointment. “She will make an excellent addition to the 4th Judicial District.”

Allyn, the daughter of Robins Kaplan partner Richard Allyn, replaces the retiring 4th District Court Judge Ronald L. Abrams.

Maximillia Utley. She is a senior assistant Hennepin County attorney and the supervising attorney in that office’s Juvenile Prosecution Division. She has also worked in every other criminal division within that office, litigating a wide range of felony-level offenses.

She previously clerked for the Minnesota Court of Appeals and is a former president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers. She fills the seat vacated by the appointment of Judge Theodora Gaïtas to the state Court of Appeals.

“She has demonstrated an outstanding capacity to fight for the rights of all Minnesotans inside and outside of the courtroom,” Walz said of Utley. “Her work addressing systemic disparities in the justice system and her engagement in social justice issues will serve her well as a judge.”

Terri Yellowhammer. She is the American Indian Community Relations development manager for Hennepin County, where she helps the county partner with tribal communities throughout the state. As a lawyer, she previously represented indigent clients at the Indian Child Welfare Law Center, served as a White Earth Nation Tribal Court judge, and worked as an assistant Minnesota attorney general.

“Ms. Yellowhammer has the experience and heart that will serve the bench well,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a press release. “Her work as a tribal court judge and as an advocate for Native children and families brings a much needed perspective to the 4th judicial circuit. I’m thrilled by her appointment.”

Yellowhammer takes the seat vacated by the retirement of Judge Fred Karasov.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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