The Women & Girls Fund honors The Hon. Karen A. Murphy Jensen

Judge Karen Murphy Jensen is, indeed, a woman who sets a high bar for herself and for us all.

The Administrative Judge for Caroline County and Associate Judge of Maryland’s 2nd Circuit, which includes Caroline, Talbot, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Cecil Counties, Judge Jensen also is the Presiding Judge of both the Adult and Juvenile Drug Courts in Caroline County, a part of the court system she helped develop.

And in all of those roles, indeed in everything she does, Karen Jensen is guided by one principal: she believes that every man, woman and child should have access to justice.

Judge Jensen’s concern about adults and children who are victims of family violence and abuse, and her conviction that they have a right to seek justice, has been a central concern since long before she was appointed to the bench.

While in private practice, Judge Jensen often represented clients at a reduced fee or pro bono. And, she has carried her knowledge and empathy for victims of abuse with her to the bench. Our honoree has been a strong supporter of Mid-Shore Pro Bono, the local non-profit that provides legal advice and representation for people who can’t afford a lawyer. Her desire to meet the legal needs of our rural community is evident in everything she does.

Judge Jensen’s colleagues speak warmly of her judicial temperament, her impartiality in ruling, her compassion for all parties and her ethic of hard work.

Karen Murphy Jensen was born in Cheverly, Maryland. After attending Notre Dame Preparatory School, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Delaware and her JD from the University Of Maryland School Of Law.

We asked Judge Jensen how she feels about being named winner of The Women & Girls Fund Award, and here is what she said:

“I am so gratified to receive this award because it comes from my community, an affirmation of what I have strived to do since being appointed to the bench 12 years ago: to make sure that all people have access to justice in both the civil and criminal arena, that the justice they receive is fair, reasonable and no respecter of persons, and finally that the court system, which is a total mystery—or a “reality TV judge show to many—can be an agent of positive change in the lives of individuals and the families that we serve.”

Judge Jensen is an agent of positive change on and off the bench, on both broad and personal levels. In addition to her work with a host of judicial committees and commissions, she’s been a mentor to a nearly-nine year old girl since the youngster was in kindergarten. “I have gotten as much from our relationship as she hopefully has,” Judge Jensen says.

“I am the product of an all girls school, a Catholic education,” she explains, “and while I complained quite a bit in high school about having no boys, my class of about 100 had dreams as big as the universe—and we thought that was normal for all girls. And it should be, no matter your income, or family situation, or where you live.” Judge Jensen clearly still feels that everyone should be encouraged to dream.

And, so it is with great pleasure, The Women & Girls Fund of the Mid-Shore is proud to name Karen Murphy Jensen the recipient of the 2012 Women & Girls Fund Award.