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Judge Karen
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Judge Karen

Judge Karen Mills-Francis has a colorful and engaging style that is as distinctive as her bold burgundy robe and her bright blonde hair. As quick to aid the helpless as she is to dismiss the harebrained, Judge Karen confidently dished out justice to a national television audience with the half-hour syndicated courtroom series, “JUDGE KAREN” which can currently be seen on The CENTRIC Network. She is famous for the lines “Stay in your Lane, I know how to Drive"; "Justice isn't always Black and White";" God protects babies and fools and you no baby"; "Stop looking for a man to validate who you are" and “God don't like Ugly". When Sony Pictures television decided to leave the court show business and dropped the show in the spring of 2009, Litton productions picked it up at the urging of national television station groups. Now, with a new production team behind her, Judge Karen will be back in session for fall 2010 with “Judge Karen’s Court”. Additionally Judge Karen’s publisher, Random House, will be releasing her new book on August 17th entitled “Stay in Your Lane:Judge Karen’s Guide to Living Your Best Life”

Born and raised in Miami, FL Judge Karen was one of five ambitious siblings and she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class. She completed her undergraduate education at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine on a full scholarship and she spent summers studying at the University of Wisconsin and University of Minnesota. After graduation, the judge worked in the public welfare sector in job training and employment skills for welfare recipients and in summer youth employment programs. She graduated from the Levin School of Law at the University of Florida in 1987.

Judge Karen practiced law in Florida for 13 years in the Office of the Public Defender, as well as in private practice. She was appointed as a traffic magistrate by the chief judge of Dade County in 1998 where she handled non-criminal traffic cases. Driven by the lack of diversity she saw in the court system, Judge Karen decided to run for a judgeship in 2000. In winning her county wide election by overthrowing a longtime incumbent, she became only the second black woman elected to the bench in Miami.

After taking her seat on the bench, Judge Karen made it her mission to support those who are at risk of getting lost in the legal system. Inspired by her previous work at the public defender’s office in the juvenile division, she became known as an ardent supporter of children’s advocacy programs and initiatives as well as domestic violence programs. She became a foster mother herself to a child she first encountered in court and over the years she has repeatedly opened her home to children in need. Judge Karen knows the importance of lending a sympathetic ear and of going the extra mile on behalf of others in life, as well as in her courtroom. Her upcoming self-help book is replete with advice and a legal perspective on child rearing, parenting, and creating positive family dynamics.

Judge Karen loves gardening, writing, playing tennis, and traveling. She has a particular affinity for Latin American language and culture, which has inspired trips to Mexico, Ecuador, and Columbia to attend immersion Spanish language lessons. She plans to be bilingual by her 50th birthday. Judge Karen currently lives in Miami.
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