Second Judicial District - District - Juvenile Court Judge
Honorable Karen M. Ashby
Retention Year: 2006
The Second Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously recommends that Judge Karen M. Ashby BE RETAINED.
Judge Ashby was appointed to the Denver Juvenile Court bench in September 1998. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Ashby practiced in the Denver Trial Office of the Colorado State Public Defender for five years and was in private practice specializing in criminal trials and appeals and family law. Judge Ashby graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts and received her law degree from the University of Denver Law School in 1983. Judge Ashby hears all types of juvenile cases and presently serves as the presiding judge of the Denver Juvenile Court. Judge Ashby has also pioneered the family integrated drug court where charges against parents with both drug and neglect violations are heard jointly. The family can then be restored through drug rehabilitation, parenting skills as well as community support to obtain employment and housing.
The Commission reviewed written evaluations of Judge Ashby from attorneys and non-attorneys as well as Judge Ashby’s self-evaluation and conducted a personal interview during which Judge Ashby began with, “I love what I do.”
Judge Ashby believes her extensive involvement in community activities as well as state and national judicial groups enhances her ability to insure that the juvenile justice and child welfare systems are effective. Her goal is to make Denver’s Juvenile Court a model for the nation. Judge Ashby strives to treat people fairly and with respect in her courtroom, so that they believe that the process was fair even if they did not prevail in the outcome. For recreation, Judge Ashby enjoys walking, playing golf and traveling.
Judge Ashby received high ratings from both attorneys and non-attorneys in almost every category, particularly in the areas of treating all parties politely and with respect; having empathy with the parties involved; knowledge of the law and procedures; and her willingness to make decisions without regard to criticism or appeal. Of the 15 attorneys responding to the questionnaire, 93% recommended that Judge Ashby be retained in office, while 96% of the 30 non-attorneys responding to the questionnaire believe she should be retained. Judge Ashby agreed that her case management can be improved and has implemented a new docketing system.