New to the Bench: Judge Julie Allyn

Why did you want to become a judge?
Having dedicated my career to public service, and living in Hennepin County for over2103-JulieAllyn 25 years, the opportunity to be a judge in the Fourth Judicial District was a chance to continue helping people within my own community. The majority of my career was prosecuting cases, often advocating for victims in a wide variety of matters spanning from rape and murder, to domestic terrorism. Although such advocacy was meaningful, I wanted the opportunity to be in a neutral role as a judge and listen to all sides and weigh competing issues. Now in that neutral role, I can use my skills and experience in the justice system to evaluate a case and strive to arrive at fair and just outcomes for all participants. It is an exciting and remarkable honor to be a judge.

What has it been like being on-boarded as
a judge during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is certainly a strange time to begin a new job. Although many court hearings are proceeding, such appearances are almost exclusively conducted remotely via Zoom. The lack of in-person court makes it harder to learn from colleagues, and it is more difficult to feel like I am connecting with the public as they appear before me on a computer screen. But it has also been an exciting time to learn new, virtual ways to conduct court. Hopefully in the long run, such new technology will provide more convenient options for how citizens can participate in the court system.

What do you think is the most pressing
issue facing our judicial system today?

The most pressing issue is racial disparities and how such inequities undermine the integrity of the judicial system. It is critical the judiciary continues to develop systemic, feasible solutions to identifying and addressing the causes of disparities in the judicial system.

What’s been the most surprising thing
for you since taking the bench?

Before I started overseeing my own court calendars, I heard some stories of Zoom court appearances that were disruptive and chaotic. But I have been surprised how smoothly my various Zoom court matters have proceeded. The vast majority of participants are taking Zoom court seriously. Overall, I have been impressed with how participants have figured out the technology and (virtually) appear in a manner respectful of the proceedings.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside
of work?

In general my favorite thing is to spend time with my family. I especially enjoy traveling with my family.

What’s is a book you recommend?
A recent book would be Less by Andrew Sean Greer.