Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced the promotion of Kathy Keena, who has served in the Dakota County Attorney's Office since 2000, as Chief Deputy County Attorney. Kathy is the first female to hold the Chief Deputy position in the Dakota County Attorney's Office.
Kathy Keena received her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Moorhead State University in 1986 with a major in criminal justice. She graduated from Hamline University School of Law in 1989 and worked as an Associate Attorney for the Law Firm of Gaffaney and Velde in Alexandria as a public defender until 1990. Kathy was an Assistant Lyon County Attorney in Marshall, Minnesota from 1990-1992 when she became the Lyon County Attorney, a position she held until 1997. Prior to joining the Dakota County Attorney's Office, Kathy was in private practice in the state of Washington handling civil litigation.
Kathy Keena has served as an Assistant Dakota County Attorney since April of 2000 in the Adult Criminal Division as well as the Civil Division. In June of 2013, Kathy was appointed to the Head of the Criminal Division of the Dakota County Attorney's Office. She replaces Phil Prokopowicz who retired on July 19, 2019 after serving 18 years as Chief Deputy County Attorney.
In 2016, Kathy Keena successfully argued the appeal of an important criminal case before the United States Supreme Court, which involved the constitutionality of Minnesota's DWI refusal statute as it applied to breath tests. This involved researching, briefing and orally arguing this case before our nation's highest court. Kathy did this in addition to her many other responsibilities of managing the largest division in the Dakota County Attorney's Office and personally prosecuting some of the most difficult cases handled each year.
"Kathy Keena has a long history of outstanding service for this office," Backstrom stated. She commenced her duties as Chief Deputy on July 22, 2019. As Chief Deputy in the County Attorney's Office, Kathy will be responsible to serve as a close advisor to the County Attorney, oversee both adult and juvenile prosecutions, and will continue to prosecute major felony offenders.
Kathy resides in Dakota County. She is married and she and her husband have an adult daughter.
If you have any questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440. A photograph is available upon request.