Judge Brosnahan takes oath in Isanti County

Douglas Meslow, assistant chief judge for the 10th Judicial District, congratulates Judge Amy Brosnahan after presenting her with a gavel during her investiture ceremony Jan. 15 at the Isanti County Government Center in Cambridge. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

Douglas Meslow, assistant chief judge for the 10th Judicial District, congratulates Judge Amy Brosnahan after presenting her with a gavel during her investiture ceremony Jan. 15 at the Isanti County Government Center in Cambridge. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

Amy Brosnahan, the 10th Judicial District’s newest judge, will begin her judgeship chambered in Isanti County.

In front of several family members, friends and other district judges, Brosnahan took the oath of office during an investiture ceremony Jan. 15 at the Isanti County Government Center in Cambridge. There was a vacancy in Isanti County due to the retirement of Judge P. Hunter Anderson.

Brosnahan previously served as the Kanabec County Attorney, where her practice focused on serious felony criminal prosecution and serving as legal adviser for Kanabec County.

Previously, she was the assistant Kanabec County attorney, and prior to that, she was an attorney at the law firm of Leonard, Street & Dienard, where she practiced intellectual property, products liability and construction litigation.

“When Amy is sworn in today, she will be the 45th judge in the 10th Judicial District,” said John C. Hoffman, chief judge of the 10th Judicial District. “I’m sure this a huge day for you, and the biggest day in your professional life.”

Minnesota’s 10th Judicial District consists of Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington and Wright counties.

Brosnahan earned her B.A. from the University of California, Davis, her J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law and her English Educational Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University.

The appointment of Brosnahan was officially announced by Gov. Mark Dayton in late November.

“Throughout her career, Kanabec County Attorney Amy Brosnahan has shown her strong commitment to justice,” Dayton said. “Her record of public service, combined with her years of professional experience in the court systems, qualifies her very well for this judgeship in the 10th Judicial District.”

Additionally, Brosnahan has served with the boards of the Methamphetamine Task Force-Substance Abuse Coalition of Kanabec County, the Paradise Theatre in Mora and WINDOW Victim Services. Brosnahan resides with her family in Knife Lake Township.

“I know somewhere there is a child suffering; a family moving because of foreclosure; a couple

divorcing after not making it through the holidays; families wrecked by violence,” Brosnahan said. “I know there are people seeking equal justice in the 10th Judicial District, and it’s for all of them that I’m here today. I know we have several hardworking judges in the 10th Judicial District who are all fighting for equal justice.”

Brosnahan’s father, James Brosnahan, spoke about the confidence he has in his daughter.

“I don’t think I have words to express to the district judges what it means to have your daughter sworn in as a judge,” he said. “Thirty-five years ago, her mother Carol was sworn in as a judge in California. … Judge P. Hunter Anderson, you have served this community well and for so long. I just want you to know that Judge Amy Brosnahan will do her best.”

James Brosnahan said he realizes his daughter will have better days than others.

“Judging is a hard thing to do, and I think there will be harder days and easier days,” he said. “Putting judgement on people … isn’t an easy thing to do. But I think in her 10 years with the county attorney’s office, she has honed her judgement. Amy has been around court proceedings for 35 years since her mother Carol took the bench.”

He explained when his wife took the bench 35 years ago, she received a gavel and note from Amy, 19 at the time, wishing her luck.

“Judge Amy Brosnahan does her homework, reads her cases, researches the law and will be well-prepared to listen to cases and determine an outcome of a situation,” he said. “I feel the citizens of Isanti County will be getting a honest, fair and hardworking judge.”

Lori J. Flohaug, who became a close friend of Brosnahan while attending the William Mitchell College of Law, is currently an attorney in Itasca County.

“Amy and I were classmates at William Mitchell, were both young mothers commuting to St. Paul every day and quickly became close friends,” Flohaug said. “As a prosecutor, Amy always focuses on the facts and realizes the decisions she makes has an immediate and profound impact on those forever. Amy always took her role as a prosecutor very seriously.”

Brosnahan feels blessed by her career.

“I’m here today because of the many blessings of my parents. … My father celebrated his 80th birthday this week and my mother has served on the bench for 35 years. My parents taught us respect and compassion for every human being, no matter what,” Brosnahan said. “I’m here today because of the support and patience of my husband, family, extended family and friends.”

Brosnahan thanked her colleagues she’s had along the way.

“I’m here today because of the education I’ve received, the mentors I’ve had in private practice, as well as the last 10 years while serving in the Kanabec County Attorney’s Office,” Brosnahan said. “All of you have brought me to where I am today. I’m grateful to the bench who taught me the things I needed to know my last 10 years.”

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