About The County Attorney
Karin Sonneman was elected to the office of Winona County Attorney in November 2010 and re-elected in 2014, 2018 and 2022. Karin was the first woman elected to her office in the over 150 year history of Winona County. Prior to her election, Karin was a Third Judicial District Assistant Public Defender for 20 years and was in the private practice of law for 15 of those years with her husband, Karl Sonneman.
Karin has extensive experience in criminal law. She has handled all levels of cases including homicide, criminal vehicular homicide, criminal sexual conduct, felony and domestic assault, and controlled substance crimes. Besides being the chief criminal prosecutor for Winona County, Karin is also the corporate (civil law) counsel for Winona County.
Among her many professional activities, Karin has served on the Winona County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) since its inception in 2007 and the CJCC Chairperson, having held that position since 2015. In that role, Karin has lead the CJCC’s efforts to establish smart on crime initiatives that provide early intervention and diversion programs to help persons in the criminal justice system with mental illness and substance abuse. Karin serves on the Treatment Court of Winona County (TCWC) team and served as co-chair of the planning, development, and implementation team that established the TCWC in 2012. She also currently chairs the Winona County Re-Entry Assistance Program Plus (WRAP+) Implementation Task Force, administering the Department of Justice’s Justice Mental Health Collaborative Program grant that funds that initiative.
Karin serves on the Minnesota County Attorneys Association Board of Directors and is a member of the Executive Committee. Karin serves on the National District Attorneys Association Board of Director as the Minnesota Director. Karin also serves on Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU), one of only 7 statewide units in the country.
Karin, who is an identical twin, was born in Minneapolis, and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, but spent all of her summers at her maternal grandparents’ farm in Mille Lacs County, Minnesota. Karin has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Maryland where she played on the Field Hockey, and Track and Field, teams in the early days of Title IX. Karin also has a master’s degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota, and a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law School (now Mitchell-Hamline) in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to and during the time she attended law school, Karin was a Principal Telecommunications Rates Analyst for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
Karin and her husband, Karl, have three adult children. Karin’s avocation is instrumental music. She has played French horn for over 30 years in the Winona Municipal Band, and Alto horn in the Winona Brass Band for almost as long.