2008 was a landmark year for Turner. She was one of the youngest attorneys at the time to become a Minnesota State Bar certified criminal law specialist and she launched her own private practice.
Turner is not one to waste time on false modesty. She’s worked hard to achieve her proficiency and her confidence is based on a history of success.
“I never dwell on past successes; I’m always looking forward,” she says. “And while I’m confident in the lawyer I am today, I’m still constantly trying to be better. I’ve spent my career training to be a badass trial attorney. Trials are the best part of the job! It’s a rush and high stakes. It’s being able to think on your feet, always being one step ahead of opposing counsel.
“It’s what I love and to be good at that takes a lot of effort,” she adds.
She has focused her career on higher-level felonies handling a lot of sex crimes which go to trial most often. She has had roughly 50 trials and conducted hundreds of hearings in state and federal court. Combined with her thousands of hours of experience as a public defender, Turner knows what it takes to litigate a case to the benefit of her clients.
While admired as an award-winning defense attorney, like most superstars, Turner is also recognized for one particular skill that’s invaluable to all trial attorneys – the cross-examination.
“My favorite part is cross-examining cops,” she says. “I have invested a lot of time trying to be really good at cross-examination. I’ve done a lot of training here in Minnesota as well as nationally.”
Turner has attended National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) seminars and the National Criminal Defense College Trial School as well as advanced cross-examination classes. She has become so proficient and widely recognized for her talent in this area that she is now teaching other lawyers through the Minnesota Public Defender’s annual weeklong trial school and before a national audience with the NACDL.
Turner has been sharing her knowledge with her fellow lawyers for more than a decade, touching on topics such as the challenges of representing clients with mental health issues, the Fourth Amendment in the Edward Snowden age, fighting eyewitness and cross-racial identification, and challenging geofence reverse location data.
“I’m often asked how I can sleep at night defending people charged with crimes,” she says. “Everyone is entitled to a defense, so I sleep just fine thank you.
“The hardest cases for me are those where I’m convinced my client is innocent,” she continues. “It’s easier when the government’s evidence is strong and a conviction is obvious; then it’s just about making sure the client’s rights are respected, and they get an outcome that is proportionate and reasonable. When I’m fighting for someone I know to be innocent, that’s when I lose sleep, get ulcers and stress.”