Judge Tanya M. Bransford

Hennepin County Courthouse
Fourth Judicial District
(612) 348-2040

Chambers Phone: (612) 348-3771
Reporter: (612) 348-8999
Law Clerk: (612) 348-6469
Judicial Clerk: (612) 348-3778

Fourth Judicial District Judicial Officers

Judge Tanya M. Bransford

Appointed on July 1, 1994.
Elected in 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014.

Her current term expires in January 2021.


  • Hennepin County Administrator's Award, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), 2012
  • Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation, Champions of Change Award, 2010
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation Award, 2009
  • North St. Paul High School, Distinguished Alumni, 2005
  • Hamline University School of Law, Outstanding Alumni Award, 2000
  • Hennepin County Star Performer Award, 1998
  • Minnesota Minority Lawyer's Association, Service to the MMLA Award, 1994


J.D., Hamline University School of Law, 1983
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, 1980


Referee, Hennepin County District Court, Juvenile Division, 1990
Workers’ Compensation Judge, Office of Administrative Hearings, 1987
Associate Attorney, Spicer, Watson & Carp law firm, 1983

Professional Memberships:
  • Committee for Equality and Justice, Co-Chair and Founding Member, 2011-present
  • Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Hennepin County, Co-Chair 2005-2010, Member, 2010-present
  • University of Minnesota, Judicial Skills Program, 2001-present
  • National Consortium of Racial and Ethnic Bias Task Force, Board of Directors, 2011-present
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Racial Fairness Committee, Vice Chair 2006-2011, Member 1993-2006
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Juvenile Delinquency Rules Committee, 2008-2010
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Committee on the Rules on Judicial Standards, 2007-2008
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Continuing Legal Education Board, 2000-2006 
  • Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Task Force on the Guardian Ad Litem System, 1995-1996
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, 1983-present, Civil Litigation Section Council, 2010-present
  • American Bar Association, 2011-present
  • National Bar Association, 1994-present
  • Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, 1995-present
  • Minnesota Black Women Lawyers Network, 2001-present
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, 1983-present
  • Equal Justice Committee - Fourth Judicial District, 1995-present, Co-Chair 1995-2009
  • Fourth Judicial District Executive Committee, 2004-2008
  • Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, 2004-2008
  • Hennepin County Board/Bench Joint Committee on Community Corrections, 2004-2008
  • Hamline University School of Law - Board of Advisors, 1999-2005
  • Minnesota Judicial College - Juvenile Law Faculty, 1994-2002
  • National Association of Women Judges,  1987-2008
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, 1990-2005
  • Minnesota Minority Lawyers Association, 1982-1998
  • National Conference of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 1990-2000
  • Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, 1991-1993

Additional Information


Tanya M. Bransford has served as a District Court Judge in Hennepin County District Court since 1994. She currently manages a block of 175 civil, felony drug and property cases and has worked as the presiding Juvenile Court Judge. Prior to her appointment, Judge Bransford was a District Court Referee for Hennepin County’s Juvenile Division, and also served as a Workers’ Compensation Judge with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Judge Bransford is the co-chair and founding member of the Supreme Court’s Committee for Equality and Justice and is also a founding member of Youthprise.

Assignment History

  • Criminal, 1/2014-Present
  • Civil & Criminal, 2009-2013
  • Juvenile, 7/2003-2009
  • Civil & Criminal, 1/2000-6/2003
  • Criminal, 5/1998-12/1999
  • Civil & Criminal, 5/1997-4/1998
  • Criminal, 1/1997-4/1997
  • Juvenile, 6/1995-12/1996
  • Criminal, 7/1994-5/1995

Judicial Activities

  • Lead Judge - Brookdale Team, 2010-2011
  • Presiding Judge, Juvenile Division, Spring 2006-Oct. 2008
  • Co-Chair of the Hennepin County Equal Justice Committee, 1995-2009

Community Activities

  • Youthprise, Founding Board Member (an organization designed to accelerate youth leadership beyond the classroom), 2010-present
  • Jack and Jill of America, Minneapolis Chapter, 2000-present
  • Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, 2005-present
  • Osumare Book Club, 1991-present

Former Community Involvement

  • Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board
  • The Links, Incorporated, Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter
  • The St. Paul Foundation
  • Minneapolis YWCA
  • Action for Children
  • Institute of Black Chemical Abuse
  • Augburg College
  • Stairstep Foundation
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Rance Majestic Choir

Civil Practice Pointers & Preferences