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Prosecutor promoted to judge

Samantha Standring
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Gov. Bill Ritter on Monday named veteran prosecutor Karen Romeo as the new district court judge for the central mountains including Eagle and Summit counties.

Romeo will replace Judge David Lass, who will retire Aug. 31.

Romeo has served in the district attorney’s office in the 5th Judicial District since 1997, gaining the titles of chief deputy and assistant district attorney.

Ritter chose her for the seat over two other candidates put forward by a local nominating commission, Dana A. Christiansen and Mark D. Thompson.

Romeo’s “experience from her work as a law clerk (in Jefferson County) and with the district attorney’s office gives her a great grounding,” said Evan Dreyer, spokesman for the governor.

Romeo is known throughout the state for her work with victims and with the Ending Violence Against Women program, designed to teach criminal-justice workers about investigations and the prosecution of difficult cases, victim advocacy and current laws.

She has trained other prosecutors and law-enforcement officers in handling domestic violence, sexual assault and juvenile law.

Some of her most publicized local cases have included winning a guilty plea from an Eagle snowboarder who collided with an 8-year-old girl in April of 2007 and the vehicular-homicide conviction of a truck driver who in a 2001 case slammed into four other vehicles on Interstate 70 west of Silverthorne, killing one person and injuring 10 others.

Romeo will not be assigned to cases that she has worked on as a prosecutor, court administrator Christine Yuhas said.

She likely will be based in the Summit County Justice Center, where chambers are available. The court serves Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties.

Romeo grew up in Littleton and graduated from Heritage High School in 1986. She earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado in 1990 and her law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Michigan in 1996.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, a friend and colleague of Romeo, said he was delighted that she got the appointment and indicated she is well suited for the job.

He said that Romeo has learned to seek justice and not simply convictions in her time as a prosecutor, which will allow her to bring to the bench the impartiality required of judges.

Romeo, Hurlbert said, is “very bright, has a great knowledge of the law and a great judicial demeanor” and her approach “will be fair to everyone who comes before her.”


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