Gov. Walz appoints Helen Brosnahan and Kari Willis to fill 10th Judicial District vacancies

December 22, 2021
Contact: Claire Lancaster

Governor Walz Appoints Helen Brosnahan and Kari Willis to Fill Tenth Judicial District Vacancies 

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced the appointments of Helen Brosnahan and Kari Willis as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. The seats will be chambered in Stillwater in Washington County and Buffalo in Wright County.

Ms. Brosnahan will be replacing the Honorable Tad V. Jude in Washington County.

“Ms. Brosnahan will be an excellent addition to the Tenth Judicial District,” said Governor Walz. “She has a wealth of life and legal experience that will make her a compassionate and effective judge in Washington County.”

“Ms. Brosnahan is a remarkable public servant,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “I am confident that she will treat everyone that walks into her courtroom with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Ms. Willis will be replacing the Honorable Stephen M. Halsey in Wright County.

“I am proud to appoint Ms. Willis to serve on the Wright County bench,” said Governor Walz. “She has a long legal career serving the people of Wright County, and I am confident that this familiarity and commitment to her community will only grow stronger as a District Court judge.”

“Ms. Willis will work every day to build trust and confidence in our judiciary by administering justice fairly to everyone that appears in front of her,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “I am excited to see her excel in her new role.”

Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District encompasses Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright counties.


About Helen Brosnahan

Ms. Brosnahan is an Assistant Dakota County Attorney in the Civil Division, where she handles matters including litigation, contracts, civil asset forfeiture, and water management. Previously, Ms. Brosnahan was an Assistant Dakota County Attorney in the Criminal Division, where she prosecuted adult criminal cases. Ms. Brosnahan has been recognized as a leader for her work with Dakota County’s initiative to champion inclusion, diversity, and equity, and she serves on the Dakota County Attorney’s Office’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance. Before joining Dakota County, Ms. Brosnahan was an attorney at LeVander, Gillen & Miller, P.A., an Assistant Olmsted County Attorney, and a law clerk for the Honorable Robert F. Carolan. Ms. Brosnahan also served on the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure. She has been active with Minnesota Women Lawyers, where she has served in various leadership roles. Ms. Brosnahan has been a judge for the William McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition and the Minnesota State Bar Association Moot Court Competition. Ms. Brosnahan earned her B.A. from Smith College and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

About Kari Willis

Ms. Willis is an Assistant County Attorney with the Wright County Attorney’s Office, where she primarily represents the human services agency in child protection matters. She previously worked in the areas of juvenile delinquency and adult criminal prosecution. Prior to joining the Wright County Attorney’s Office, Ms. Willis was a law clerk for the Honorable Kim Johnson in Wright County in the Tenth Judicial District. Ms. Willis is an active participant in The Turn - Wright County Adult Drug Court Program. Her community involvement includes engaging with community youth sports and volunteering as a mock trial judge with the Minnesota State Bar Association. Ms. Willis serves on the Wright County Safe Schools committee, Community Child Safety Team, Back-to-School Program, and Children’s Justice Initiative. She also administers the Wright County Attorney’s Office truancy program. Ms. Willis earned her B.A. from the University of Minnesota Duluth and her J.D. from the Hamline School of Law.

For more information about the judicial selection process, please visit the Governor’s Judicial Appointments webpage.