Judge Carolina Lamas was appointed on February 3, 2014 by Governor Mark Dayton and won her election in 2016 by among the highest margins of any contested judicial election in Minnesota's recent history. During her time on the Hennepin County Bench, Judge Lamas has earned a reputation as a thoughtful, fair and impartial judge. As a general jurisdiction judge, Judge Lamas has presided primarily over felony-level criminal trials during her time on the bench. Judge Lamas also served as a Treatment Court Judge from 2017 - 2020 presiding over Veterans Treatment Court and Mental Health Treatment Court. In addition, Judge Lamas handled all adult criminal competency related matters for the district during that time.
Judge Lamas is the Chair of the Hennepin County Bench’s Equal Justice Committee and is a representative to State Courts's Committee for Equality and Justice. Previously Judge Lamas served on the Hennepin Bench's Education Committee, Amnesty Day Planning Committee, represented the Fourth Judicial District in the Minnesota District Judges Association Board, and served on the Statewide Treatment Court Initiative.
As a fluent Spanish speaker, Judge Lamas performs bilingual and Spanish wedding ceremonies and was previously featured in the free Valentines Day wedding event.
Appointed February 3, 2014, by Governor Mark Dayton. Current term expires January 2, 2017.
J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, 2003
B.A., University of Minnesota, 2000
Executive Director/Lead Attorney, Neighborhood Justice Center, 2007-2014
Assistant Public Defender, Ramsey County Office of the Public Defender, 2003-2007
Member, Minnesota Women Lawyers
Member, Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (President 2007-2008; Board of Directors 2004-2009)
Member, Hispanic National Bar Association
Member, Hennepin County Bar Association
Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
Past member, Warren E. Burger Inn of Court
Past member, Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Past member, Ramsey County Family Violence Coordinating Council
Past member, Ramsey County Bar Association
Tempo, Minnesota Opera (Member since 2004; Board of Directors 2011-2014; Executive Committee 2012-2014
American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (Vice President 2013; Board of Directors 2009 – 2013)
Instructor: “New Judge Training: Self- Represented Litigants Best Practices” (2020- 2021).
Instructor: PESI Seminar“A Different Approach: Addressing Mental Health Concerns through Treatment Courts” (2020).
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “Veterans Forum” (2019)
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “The Criminal Sexual Conduct Case: Cross-Examination of the SANE Nurse”, 2013.
Instructor: Week-long Trial Advocacy Institute for Minnesota Public Defenders, 2013.
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “Beginning Criminal Defense: Nuts and Bolts of Criminal Defense in the East Metro”, 2012.
Presenter: Minnesota Women Lawyers Presents “Hot Topics in Criminal Law”, 2012.
Instructor: Week-long Trial Advocacy Institute for Minnesota Public Defenders, 2011.
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “Effective Opening Arguments”, 2011.
Presenter: Growing the Connections Conference on Restorative Justice, 2010.
Instructor: Week-long Trial Advocacy Institute for Minnesota Public Defenders, 2010.
Instructor: Week-long Trial Advocacy Institute for Minnesota Public Defenders, 2009.
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “Criminal Defense in Ramsey County”, 2009.
Presenter: Minnesota State Bar Association Networking Panel, 2008.
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “Defending Dissent”, 2008.
Instructor: Continuing Legal Education Seminar “2005 Omnibus Public Safety Bill”, 2005.
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota, 25 On The Rise Award, 2008
Minnesota Lawyer, Up and Coming Attorney Award, 2005