Gov. Walz announces three appointments to fill 4th Judicial District vacancies

October 2, 2020
Contact: Teddy Tschann

Governor Walz Appoints Julie Allyn, Maximillia Utley, and Terri Yellowhammer to Fill Fourth Judicial District Vacancies

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz announced the appointments of Julie Allyn, Maximillia Utley, and Terri Yellowhammer as District Court Judges in Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District. All three seats will be chambered in Minneapolis.


Ms. Allyn’s appointment will fill a vacancy that occurred upon the retirement of Judge Ronald L. Abrams.

“With her extensive legal experience and commitment to justice, it is my honor to appoint Ms. Allyn to the bench,” said Governor Walz. “Ms. Allyn, who has successfully handled many state and federal criminal matters, has demonstrated a strong aptitude as a prosecutor. She will make an excellent addition to the Fourth Judicial District.”

“Ms. Allyn has served with distinction as a top-quality prosecutor at both the state and federal levels.” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Her depth of experience and commitment to maintaining integrity within our justice system will make her an excellent Judge.”


Ms. Utley’s appointment will fill a vacancy that occurred upon the appointment of Judge Theodora Gaïtas to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

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

“Ms. Utley approaches the bench with an open mind and genuine interest in building bridges with the community she serves,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Her legal skills, work ethic, and strong commitment to the public will make her a great judge.”


Ms. Yellowhammer’s appointment will fill a vacancy that occurred upon the retirement of Judge Fred Karasov.

“I am proud to appoint Ms. Yellowhammer. She is a tireless public servant, having spent her career fighting systemic inequities,” said Governor Walz. “Her experience as a tribal judge and her steadfast focus on increasing collaboration between underrepresented communities and the criminal justice system will give her a unique perspective in her new role.”

“Ms. Yellowhammer has the experience and heart that will serve the bench well,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “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.”

About Julie Allyn

Ms. Allyn serves as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota. Previously, she served as an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General at the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office. Ms. Allyn is a trial lawyer with twenty years of experience prosecuting major felony crimes ranging from child exploitation, human trafficking, murder, and rape cases to international and domestic terrorism matters. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. Ms. Allyn’s community involvement includes working on a committee to increase diversity within the U.S. Attorney’s Office and chairing the U.S. Attorney’s Wellness Committee. She also participates in the Federal Bar Association’s Membership Committee, working to increase public service membership, in the University of St. Thomas School of Law Mentor Program, and is a parent volunteer for Minneapolis Storm Hockey. She was previously involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Minneapolis.

Ms. Allyn earned her B.A., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School.


About Maximillia Utley

Ms. Utley is a Senior Assistant Hennepin County Attorney. In this role, she is a supervising attorney in the Juvenile Prosecution Division where she has been involved in several office initiatives to increase the use of juvenile diversion and reduce disparities in the justice system. Previously, Ms. Utley worked in every other criminal division in the office, litigating a wide range of felony-level offenses, and was a judicial clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Additionally, Ms. Utley is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Her community involvement includes serving on the Eliminating Racial Disparities Committee of the Youth Justice Council, the Hennepin County Out-of-Home Placement Training Workgroup, and Mayor Frey’s Public Safety Policy Transformation Task Force, as well as volunteer work with several organizations including Clare Housing, the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition, and Open Doors. She previously served as the president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.

Ms. Utley earned her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.


About Terri Yellowhammer

Ms. Yellowhammer is the American Indian Community Relations Development Manager for Hennepin County. In this role, she guides the county on effective partnering with tribal communities in the twin cities and on reservations in Minnesota on a range of issues, including the overrepresentation of American Indian children in the child protection system. Previously, she represented indigent clients in adult and juvenile child protection cases at the Indian Child Welfare Law Center, was a White Earth Nation Tribal Court Judge, and was a Minnesota Assistant Attorney General. Ms. Yellowhammer has been involved in outreach for Proof Alliance, which helps treat and prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. She serves on the Hennepin Healthcare Community Advisory Board, which serves as a catalyst for relationship building and partnering with community organizations. Ms. Yellowhammer also serves on the Board of Trustees for the National Crittenton Foundation, which advocates for systemic justice with and for girls, young women, and gender-expansive young people impacted by chronic adversity, violence, and oppression. She is a former board chair of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center and was a member of a cohort of volunteers who held babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital.

Ms. Yellowhammer earned her B.A. from the College of St. Catherine and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.