Justice Laurie McKinnon
Justice McKinnon is a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law and began practicing law in 1987, as a prosecutor in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. After several years as a prosecutor, she started her own practice, handling a wide variety of civil and criminal litigation, including cases involving the death penalty. In 1995, Justice McKinnon moved to Montana and became a Deputy Glacier County Attorney and, subsequently, a Deputy Teton County Attorney. From 2006 to 2012 she served as District Judge of the Ninth Judicial District Court, which encompasses Teton, Pondera, Toole and Glacier counties.
While a district judge, Justice McKinnon served on the District Court Performance Measurement Advisory Committee to the Montana Supreme Court, the Judicial Education Committee, the Justice Initiatives Committee, and was a member of the District Drug Court Judges. In 2010, Justice McKinnon was awarded Judge of the Year by the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Montana for her work in cases involving abused and neglected children. In 2011, she wrote and received a $350,000 federal grant from the Department of Justice for implementation of a drug treatment court within her jurisdiction.
On November 6, 2012, Justice McKinnon was elected to the Montana Supreme Court for an eight-year term. She and her husband Capt. Gary L. Pannabecker live north of Choteau where they raised their four children.
Justice McKinnon is pursuing her Doctorate in Judicial Studies at the University of Nevada and the National Judicial College located in Reno, Nevada.