Honorable James Dehn
Judge (Ret.), 10th Judicial District of Minnesota
James E. Dehn is a Tenth Judicial District judge for Isanti County, Minnesota. He was appointed to his current position in 1987 and elected to full terms in 1988, 1994, 2000, 2006, and 2012.
Judge Dehn began his legal career in 1976 as a Special Assistant Attorney General in Minnesota. In 1979, he became an Assistant Isanti County Attorney. The following year, he left this position to start his own law office, where he practiced until his judicial appointment in 1987.
Judge Dehn has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Civic Education Committee Citizen Lawyer Award from the Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA). He pioneered the staggered sentencing approach for repeat drunk driving offenders, which is now utilized in over 30 states and was studied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Judge Dehn was the first judge in the nation to require repeat drunk driving offenders to wear a pre-trial continuous alcohol monitoring device. He also founded the Minnesota SAFE RIDE program, a successful public/private partnership that has dramatically reduced drunk driving in Isanti County.
Judge Dehn received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1971 and his J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law in 1975.