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Judge Denise D. Reilly

Court of Appeals

Minnesota Judicial Center
Phone: (651) 297-7650


Appointed to the Fourth Judicial District in 1997. Elected in 2000, 2006, and 2012.

Appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Mark Dayton, April 3, 2014. Current term expires Jan. 2017.


J.D., cum laude, William Mitchell College of Law, 1983
B.A., College of Wooster, 1975


  • Assistant United States Attorney, Chief of Narcotics and Firearms Section, 1989-1997
  • Attorney, Lindquist & Vennum, 1985-1989
  • Law Clerk, U.S. District Judge Robert G. Renner, 1983-1985

Professional Memberships:

  • Minnesota District Judges Association

Additional Information:

Judge Reilly was appointed to serve on the Judicial Council in December 2005. She previosuly served as Assistant Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial District. She was also Assistant Presiding Judge of the Civil Division of the Fourth Judicial District, and serves on the Minnesota Supreme Court Judicial Education Committee.

Judge Reilly was a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court Juvenile Protection Rules Committee (2001- 2006), the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee for the Children's Justice Initiative (2002 -2005) and the Minnesota Supreme Court Public Defender Task Force (2001-2004). She served as Presiding Judge in Juvenile Court from 2002-2004. While in juvenile court, she chaired the Hennepin County Children's Justice Initiative (2001-2005) and co-chaired the Juvenile Justice Leadership Committee (2002-2004). She was a member of the Fourth Judicial District Executive Committee (2001-2004), the Hennepin County Criminal Coordinating Committee (2000-2004) and the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board (2002-2004).

Before becoming a judge, Judge Reilly served on a number of committees, including the Minnesota Federal Local Rules Committee (1990-1991) and the Minnesota Federal Practice Committee (1985-1986, 1988-1989). She co-chaired the Federal Pro Se Litigant Committee (1989).

Judge Reilly is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, teaching Trial Skills. She also has presented at Department of Justice conferences in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Costa Rica on the topic of children victims and witnesses in human trafficking. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Wooster.

Judge Reilly is also involved in a number of civic and community activities, including Sheltering Arms Foundation, Board Member (2005- present); Loaves and Fishes II, a soup kitchen (1995-2003); House of Prayer, a retreat center, Board Member (1995-2004), Second Vice Chair of the Board (2000-2001), Vice Chair of the Board (2001-2003); Ready For Success, Board Member, an organization that helps women move from welfare to work (1999-2001); Trinity Episcopal Church, Chair of Social Justice Committee (2001), Warden (1998-2001), Vestry Member (1997-1998); Northside Circle, a restorative justice sentencing circle (1998-2000); Minnesota Epilepsy Foundation, Member Professional Advisory Board (1988-1997); Orono High School Mock Trial Team, Coach (1994-1995); Milkweed Editions, Member of Friends of Milkweed Board (1989-1992)

District Court Assignment History

  • Civil and Adult Criminal, 1/2006-4/2014
  • Juvenile, 7/1998-12/2005 (10/2002 to 10/2004 Presiding Judge)
  • Criminal, 9/1997-7/1998

Judicial Activity

  • State Advisory Board for the Children's Justice Initiative (CJI)
  • Co-leader of Hennepin County's CJI Committee
  • Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board
  • Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee
  • Juvenile Protection Rules Committee