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Anne McKeig takes the bench with authority and efficiency, as if she has many years of experience on it. What is not readily apparent to those appearing before her, but which quickly becomes evident, is the heart and vision with which she serves the Bench and the citizens of
Appointed Feb. 6, 2008, by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, McKeig took the bench on April 7. Although new to presiding over the criminal cases that come before her, McKeig brings a breadth of experience of the Hennepin County District Court and the procedures of the busy court system. At the announcement of her appointment to the
A member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, McKeig grew up in blue-collar surroundings in Federal Dam,
Judge McKeig attended
As a county attorney, Judge McKeig had the difficult task of handling cases that involved the removal of children from families and caregivers. Oftentimes, children had been abused and neglected. Judge McKeig had the unenviable task of removing children from unsafe conditions, all the while knowing the pain that removal would cause those parents and/or guardians who were often suffering from social, mental, and other problems that prevented them from providing adequate care for their children.
“There is nothing like removing children from a home a second or third time from parents who simply do not have the capacity to care for children. It’s not as though the parents do not love their children. They simply can’t provide and care for these children properly because of reasons outside of their control. It is no less painful to any parent to have a child removed from their family when they cannot care for that child than when they can and choose not to,” McKeig said.
Sometimes Judge McKeig found herself in the position of having to litigate against a parent who was neglecting a fourth child, having already had the first three removed.
In her work, prosecuting cases under the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act, McKeig worked side by side with the Indian communities in removal proceedings. Unlike non-Native American child removal cases, removals of Native American children from their parents or guardians require the cooperation, guidance, and counsel of the tribe itself. Throughout her years of work with the Native American community, McKeig developed relationships with numerous tribes in
Now, as a Hennepin County District Court judge, McKeig brings to the bench her experience and talents for working with painful, personal, and delicate problems within diverse communities. She will be uniquely adept at understanding the nuances and possesses the sensitivity necessary to work with the different cultures and belief systems in
The decision to seek a judgeship did not come easy. Judge McKeig sought the counsel of her professional colleagues and members of the bench. Hennepin County Court Judge Robert Blaeser recalls McKeig appearing before him when he was assigned to the Juvenile Division. He watched her grow as an attorney, perfecting her skill and courtroom demeanor. As an attorney, McKeig was an emotional and zealous advocate for her clients. One of the challenges she faced in taking the bench was whether she could re-channel that emotion to serving the broader
“Judge McKeig is a hardworking, no-pretense individual who will bring a blue-collar attitude and common sense to the bench,” Judge Blaeser said. She has a sense of humor, which will help her not only get through a busy criminal day but also help lighten a sometimes stressful courtroom. Now that McKeig is on the bench, Judge Blaeser and his colleagues have seen just how hardworking she is. When she finishes her criminal calendar in the afternoons, she will often offer to take cases off other judges’ calendars and help get things done.
Sensitivity and ability to deal with diverse interests is also a skill Judge McKeig has learned in her personal life. Growing up in rural
Her current assignment finds her presiding over misdemeanor calendars, where she is getting to know the community of lawyers and judges she will be working with as well as the community at large. Dealing with the police, investigators, and
Judge McKeig has lent her time to various community agencies. She has served on the Governor’s Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She has also worked as an adjunct professor at Hamline University School of Law and as a trainer with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Welcome Judge McKeig!
2007: Staff Attorney, American Prosecutors Research Institute