District Judge McKinnon, candidate for Supreme Court

38_cake1614YUMMY  — Sierra Oehlke looks on as Conrad game announcer and auctioneer Zane Drishinski auctions off her cake near the end of halftime at the Choteau game on Thursday. Proceeds from the cake sales go to the senior class to be used for their class party and are being auctioned off at each game until the end of the season.  I-O Photo by Buck Traxler





Laurie McKinnon, Montana’s Ninth Judicial District Court Judge, has announced she will be running for Justice on the Montana Supreme Court in the 2012 election.

Judge McKinnon has served as District Judge for Pondera, Glacier, Toole, and Teton Counties since 2007.

McKinnon is committed to following the rule of law and to applying the laws of this state and the constitution fairly and impartially.

She believes a judge must study thoroughly the law, consider all arguments, and apply the law to the facts.  She believes all persons are entitled to equal access to the law.

In 2007 McKinnon was elected District Judge of the Ninth Judicial District.  She has presided over a broad range of proceedings, including felony criminal offenses, complex civil litigation, medical malpractice, divorce and parenting disputes, water disputes, and eminent domain litigation.

In addition to handling cases within her own four-county jurisdiction, McKinnon has assumed jurisdiction as district judge in cases across Montana, including Sheridan, Blaine, Hill, Cascade, Petroleum, Park, Gallatin, Liberty, Fergus, and Madison Counties.

McKinnon serves on the District Court Performance Measurement Advisory Committee to the Montana Supreme Court, the Judicial Education Committee, and is a member of the District Drug Court Judges. In 2010, McKinnon was awarded Judge of the Year by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Montana for her work in cases involving abused and neglected children.

In 2011, she wrote and received a $350,000 federal grant from the Department of Justice for implementation of a drug treatment court within her jurisdiction.

The drug treatment court addresses treatment needs of non-violent criminal drug and alcohol offenders by holding offenders accountable for their drug and alcohol use while effecting a change in behavior through delivery of treatment services in a case management setting.

McKinnon is pursuing her Doctorate in Judicial Studies at the University of Nevada and the National Judicial College located in Reno, Nev.  She has completed all course work for her master’s degree and some towards her doctorate.

McKinnon began practicing law in 1987.  Her experience prior to becoming a judge includes ten years as a prosecutor in the Glacier and Teton County Attorney’s Office and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office in Maryland.  McKinnon additionally has over ten years experience as a criminal defense attorney at the trial and appellate levels.  In her private practice, McKinnon handled a wide variety of civil litigation, including representing persons with insufficient income and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

She is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, Federal District Court and the Montana Supreme Court.

McKinnon lives north of Choteau and is married with four children.