Catherine Turner: A Bright and Bold Defender, By Susan Cushing

A Compassionate Advocate

Turner stands out as an empathetic figure, providing solace to her clients during challenging times. Beneath her warmth lies a sharp legal mind, making her a tenacious defender in the courtroom, known for her exceptional cross-examination skills and the ability to gauge witness credibility. Her personal philosophy, rooted in skepticism of government power and deep compassion, led her to a career in defense law.

Finding Her Calling

Turner's path to becoming an attorney was unexpected. After earning her political science degree, she impulsively decided to attend law school during a dinner conversation with a friend. Her passion ignited during a criminal law course in Portland, where she diligently pursued her newfound interest. After her first year, Turner applied to defender's offices, finding her calling in defense work. She served as a law clerk in Oregon, then spent 15 years as a public defender in Minnesota.

Never Looking Back

In 2008, Turner achieved recognition as a Minnesota State Bar certified criminal law specialist and launched her private practice. With about 50 trials and hundreds of hearings in state and federal courts, her experience is extensive. Her exceptional skill in cross-examination, particularly of law enforcement officers, has earned her recognition as an expert. Turner now shares her knowledge through teaching at the Minnesota Public Defender's annual trial school and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).


Balancing Justice and Compassion

While Turner is celebrated as an award-winning defense attorney, she acknowledges the most challenging cases are those where she believes her client is innocent. Her unwavering commitment to upholding the rights of all individuals remains steadfast. Outside the courtroom, she enjoys quality time with family and friends, takes pride in being an aunt, and shares her life with her longtime partner, a respected professor. In her leisure time, she finds solace in quilting, hosting dinner parties, and attending live music events.

Catherine Turner's remarkable career leaves an indelible mark on the justice system. Her unwavering commitment, legal expertise, and compassion distinguish her as a bright and bold defender, with a legacy as a tireless advocate for justice that will endure, impacting countless lives in the process.