Monday - Friday, 11 & 11:30 AM
Judge Karen Mills-Francis has a colorful and engaging style that is as distinctive as her bold burgundy robe and bright blonde hair. As quick to aid the helpless as she is to dismiss the absurd, Judge Karen confidently dishes out justice to a national television audience with the launch of her new half-hour syndicated courtroom series, JUDGE KAREN.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Judge Karen was one of five ambitious siblings and she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class. Judge Karen completed her undergraduate education at the prestigious Bowdoin College in Maine on a full scholarship and she spent summers studying at the University of Wisconsin. After graduation, she worked in the public welfare sector in areas such as job training and helping welfare recipients to gain employment. She graduated from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida in 1987.
Judge Karen practiced law in Florida for 13 years, both for the state in the Office of the Public Defender, as well as in private practice. She became a Traffic Magistrate in 1998 hearing non-criminal traffic cases. Driven by the lack of diversity in the court system, Judge Karen decided to run for a judgeship in 2000, winning her first election by overthrowing a longtime incumbent and becoming the second black woman to serve on the bench in Miami-Dade County.
After twice being elected to the position of Miami-Dade County Judge, Judge Karen made it her mission to support those 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 backer of children''s advocacy programs and domestic violence prevention, regularly calling on lawyers to act as guardian for children in families of domestic violence.
She became a foster mother herself to a child she first encountered in her court, and over the years she has repeatedly opened her home to those in need. Judge Karen knows the importance of lending a sympathetic ear and of going the extra mile on behalf of others both inside and outside the courtroom.
In April of 2008, Judge Karen stepped down in order to take her passion for the law and her desire to help others into homes across America as the host of her new series, JUDGE KAREN.
When she is not working, Judge Karen supports many child advocacy programs, including the Whyspers Program for Girls, the GEMS Program for Girls, the 5000 Role Models Program, the Roving Leaders Program and the North Miami Athletic Program for boys.