Tenth Judicial District - District Judge
Honorable Kim Karn
Retention Year: 2018
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
Eight members of the Tenth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance unanimously agree that Judge Kim Karn MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. Two members of the commission were recused.
Judge Karn was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper on December 19, 2014, and she took the bench on January 2, 2015. She received an undergraduate degree and subsequently graduated from the University of Iowa School of Law in 1989. Judge Karn began work as a deputy with the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender and then entered private practice. In 2003 she returned to work with the Office of the Public Defender where she was employed until being appointed to the District Court bench.
The commission conducted a personal interview with Judge Karn, reviewed her judicial opinions and self-evaluation, performed extensive courtroom observations, interviewed local agencies and considered the results of the 2018 Judicial Performance Survey Report and Case Management Reports. On the Judicial Performance Survey, all surveyed groups had a sufficient response rate from those who had experience with Judge Karn. Of the attorneys responding to the survey, 93% indicated that Judge Karn meets performance standards and 7% indicated that she did not meet performance standards. Of the non-attorneys responding to the survey, 77% indicated that Judge Karn meets performance standards, 13% indicated she did not meet performance standards and 10% had no opinion. Of the Appellate Judges responding to the survey, 2 Appellate Judges rated her overall performance as “excellent” and 1 Appellate Judge rated her overall performance as “good”.
Judge Karn initially presided over civil cases, which she admits was a steep learning curve for her due to her background in criminal law. After handling this docket for over a year, she was assigned to a criminal docket, which she finds much more satisfying and comfortable. In all major categories of the Judicial Performance Surveys, non-attorneys rated Judge Karn slightly higher than attorneys. Attorneys generally found that Judge Karn managed her cases well, she was fair and impartial, she had a good demeanor but indicated improvement could be made by working on her communication skills to allow non-attorney participants in her proceedings have a better understanding of what is going on with their cases. Non-attorneys found that her application and knowledge of the law was slightly lower than attorney participants found in their evaluations. During courtroom observations, Commission members found Judge Karn to be considerate and understanding of participants in her division and they found her communication skills to be appropriate under the individual circumstances of the case being observed. Judge Karn’s personal interview and self-evaluation demonstrates self-awareness of her overall performance and she implements a growth mindset, working to improve areas of weakness. Based on the Commission’s overall evaluation, Judge Karn meets or exceeds performance standards in all categories.