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Hon. Karen Murphy Jensen

Hon. Karen Murphy Jensen

Hon. Karen Murphy Jensen

Caroline County Circuit Court

Presiding in a one-judge circuit court jurisdiction has given the Hon. Karen Murphy Jensen a unique view of the issues affecting her community and the vision to make a difference.

Jensen is judge in Caroline County Circuit Court.

Since 2005, Jensen has operated a problem-solving court that is now focused on helping adult defendants who have addiction issues, she said.

“The creation and sustaining of this specialized court docket has demanded the highest level of collaboration with various justice and community partners, and it has been professionally and personally rewarding to witness the community commitment to the program in the midst of an addictions epidemic that has affected all case types in this court,” she said.

Jensen takes the most pride in founding Mid-Shore Pro Bono, Inc., a legal services provider to low-income litigants. She has also been chair of the Judiciary’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono since 2012.

Off the bench, she has worked through the YMCA to mentor a young girl, and serves as a Character Counts coach at Lockerman Middle School in Denton.

“I have seen firsthand that support beyond the family unit can make such a positive difference in the life of a child, even if you are only spending three or four hours a week with the child,” she said.

She has also mentored 16 law clerks since her appointment to the bench. When she looks for wisdom, she looks to the example set by her late father, former Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy, who taught her to be true to herself and do what she loves.

“He is my hero and my mentor and who I aspire to be in every regard,” she said. “If I can be like him … I consider myself lucky.”