Elect Karen Townsend
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Missoula County Chief Deputy
Attorney Karen Townsend at work
in a Missoula courtroom 
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I feel fortunate to have this unique opportunity to serve the citizens of Missoula and Mineral Counties in a judicial capacity. Of course, being a judge requires extensive trial experience and a thorough knowledge of courtroom procedures and of the rules of evidence, and I have that experience and that knowledge. But a good trial lawyer becomes a good judge only through an understanding of the finer nuances of legal practice that takes years of experience, both in and out of the courtroom. Understanding human nature takes compassion, active listening skills, and the ability to really hear what people are saying. It takes an unbiased ear and an untainted eye. I believe that I have the depth of understanding, the compassion, and the skills necessary to be a good judge.

If you or a loved one has ever been in front of a judge, you know that it can be an unnerving and scary experience. If elected, I will work to make sure that those who stand before my court are treated with respect, fairness, and kindness. As a prosecutor, I was used to making hard, sometimes unpopular decisions, holding individuals responsible for their actions while exercising appropriate compassion and treating individuals fairly. As a judge, I will do no less.

Of course, not all solutions to people's legal problems are solved in the criminal arena. As an attorney who has volunteered her time representing indigent clients in family law matters I have gained an understanding of issues surrounding dissolution, parenting plans, and property settlements. Through my work with the UM Law School's Advanced Trial Advocacy Program and its Trial Team, I have gained an understanding of the intricacies of civil procedure. The rules of law and the trial skills needed are much the same in criminal and civil trials, and my experiences in criminal law have allowed me to serve as an effective tutor for young lawyers learning skills in practice on mock civil cases. I have enjoyed bringing my experience to help young lawyers learn trial skills, just as I enjoyed the benefits of experienced help when I first started.

A judge has to be able to make difficult decisions and be willing to take the heat when litigants are unhappy. At the same time, a judge must base those decisions on the letter of the law, and not on any preconceived doctrine. A judge needs to check her agenda at the door, along with her ego. I will serve as a competent, an unbiased, and a compassionate District Court Judge.


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