Renowned Tribal Judge Brenda Desmond Dies at 72 | Montana News


Famous Montana judge Brenda Desmond died Monday in Minnesota where she had been treated for brain cancer. She was 72 years old.

Desmond graduated from law school in Buffalo, New York, and in 1978 served as a counselor at the Crow Tribal Court. She worked for the Montana Legislative Council from 1982 to 1986, where she served on the Indian Affairs Committee. She was a faculty member at Alexander Blewett III Law School in Missoula and served as a supervising attorney at the Indian Law Clinic, according to a news release.

She served as Associate Justice of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Court of Appeals and Chief Justice and Associate Justice of the Fort Peck Tribes Court of Appeals.

Desmond served as a permanent master in Montana’s Fourth Judicial District Court from 1994 to 2020. She then joined the Office of Public Defenders for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes, serving as the family’s defense attorney until 2021, when which she was diagnosed with cancer.

Desmond is survived by his three brothers, two sons and five grandchildren.


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