Dana J. Kenworthy, a lifelong Hoosier raised in small town Amboy, has devoted her entire career to public service. Governor Eric Holcomb appointed her to the Court of Appeals in December 2022, resulting in the first female majority in the Court’s history.
Judge Kenworthy strongly values education and is a first-generation college graduate. Several scholarships allowed her to attend the Ball State University Honors College Program; she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice in 1998. In 2001, she graduated summa cum laude from Indiana University McKinney School of Law, while also working and commuting. She served on the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review, volunteered in the pro bono Civil Practice Clinic, and was a legal writing tutor.
From 2001 to 2010, Judge Kenworthy served as a Grant County Deputy Prosecutor, concentrating on cases involving child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, computer-facilitated crimes, and juvenile delinquency. She tried 28 criminal jury trials and hundreds of bench trials, ranging from misdemeanors to murder. During this time, she served as a guardian ad litem, course instructor for Finding Words (teaching how to interview children in a nonleading way), and coordinator for Grant County’s Pro Bono Program. In 2005, she received the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Outstanding Prosecutor Award, and in 2006 she received the Indiana Pro Bono Commission’s Randall T. Shepard Award.
In 2010, the Indiana Supreme Court appointed her Judge Pro Tempore of Grant Superior Court 2. She served in that capacity in 2012 and was reelected twice thereafter. Her general jurisdiction docket included criminal, civil, juvenile, family, and probate cases. She presided over hundreds of bench trials and 82 jury trials: 74 criminal felonies and 8 personal injury cases. In 2015, she established the Grant County Family Recovery Court (FRC)—a problem-solving court which provides intensive supervision and treatment services for Child in Need of Services families struggling with substance use disorder. Grant County FRC is known as the “gold standard” for FRCs in Indiana, and in 2021 was named one of eight Peer Learning Courts (PLC) in the United States.
Throughout her career, Judge Kenworthy has held numerous leadership positions in local, state, and national organizations aimed at improving the administration of justice, including as President of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Board of Directors, National Center for State Courts Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative, and member of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Resuming Operations Task Force. She is a frequent presenter at conferences. In 2016, she received the Athena Award from the Grant County Chamber of Commerce.
Devoted to their community, Judge Kenworthy and her husband Alex have served as foster parents to fifteen children—infants to teenagers—from 2003 to 2006. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to sites with historic significance, reading, cooking, exercising and spending quiet time at home.