Fifth Judicial District - District Court Judge
Honorable Karen Ann Romeo
Retention Year: 2022
Recommendation: Meets Performance Standard
The Fifth Judicial District Commission on Judicial Performance finds that District Judge Karen Ann Romeo MEETS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS by a unanimous vote of 10-0. The Colorado statutory judicial performance standards are integrity, legal knowledge, communication skills, judicial temperament, administrative performance, and service to the legal profession and the public.
Judge Romeo was appointed to the bench in 2008, having previously served as an assistant district attorney. She was handling 50% of the civil cases, 50% of the juvenile cases, and 50% of the criminal cases in Summit County until mid-January 2022, when she assumed 100% of the criminal cases and 100% of the juvenile cases in-order-to accommodate docket changes elsewhere in the Fifth Judicial District. The Commission commends Judge Romeo for her flexibility and for placing the best interests of the District ahead of any personal preferences. She also handles approximately 75% of the probate caseload and 25% of the mental health caseload in Summit County. Judge Romeo was praised in interviews for her self-awareness and her commitment to being the best judge she can be. In her personal evaluation, Judge Romeo placed emphasis on “showing her work.” She strives to ensure that all parties and the public understand her decisions and the reasoning behind her decisions. The non-attorney comments were especially positive about her patience, impartiality, fairness, willingness to listen, and preparation for the case even if they did not prevail. Attorneys appreciated her balance and even keel in the courtroom as well as her case management. There were no apparent areas designated for performance improvement; however, the Commission encourages Judge Romeo to continue her focus on issuing timely orders, and continuing legal education and professional mentorship opportunities.
During its evaluation, the Commission reviewed survey data from attorneys, non-attorneys, and appellate court judges, interviewed the Chief Judge of the District, interviewed other District stakeholders, conducted a personal interview with Judge Romeo, reviewed her personal performance evaluation, reviewed a sampling of written opinions and court orders, and observed the judge in court. In the survey, Judge Romeo scored a 3.4 out of a possible 4.0, which is consistent with all district judges across the state. She met performance standards in all categories and scored above average for her courtroom demeanor and fairness. Among responding attorneys, Judge Romeo scored higher for meeting performance standards compared to other district judges across the state. Among the 14 non-attorney respondents, Judge Romeo scored slightly lower for meeting performance standards compared to other district judges across the state.
Judge Romeo is a Colorado native and grew up in Littleton, Colorado. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, and her law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Michigan. After law school, she clerked for Judge Perricone in Jefferson County. In 1997, she joined the District Attorney’s office in the Fifth District where she served as Chief Deputy District Attorney and eventually Assistant District Attorney. She enjoys hiking, snow shoeing, and traveling.