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Karen A. Brako

has been an attorney for over 30 years and she is committed to equitable justice and fairness to all. Karen has dedicated her career to serving others and has integrity, compassion, and empathy, all traits that make her exceptionally well qualified to sit as a Superior Court judge.

Karen grew up in the Harbor area of Los Angeles.  She is the youngest of two children.  Her father was a longshoreman and her mother worked for a dentist in San Pedro prior to having children.  Karen grew up with a special needs brother, which taught her patience and empathy at a young age.

Karen graduated from San Pedro High School, where she was a member of the school service organization, the Knightettes and a member of the swim team.  After high school, Karen went to San Diego State University, graduating with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish.

After graduating from San Diego State, Karen attended law school at Southwestern School of Law. While in college and law school, Karen worked as a lifeguard for Los Angeles City Parks and Recreation in Wilmington and San Pedro.  Karen also volunteered as a law clerk with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.   She graduated from law school and passed the bar in 1991.  

Years of Experience

Dedicated to serving others with integrity, compassion, and empathy,

Jury Trials

Handling all aspects of misdemeanor prosecution, including motions, jury trials, and appeals

Murder Trials

Handling the most serious crimes including several high profile and special circumstance murder cases

ADDA

Line Operations Prosecutor of the Year 2022

30 Years of Experience

Dedicated to serving others with integrity, compassion, and empathy,

100+ Jury Trials

Handling all aspects of misdemeanor prosecution, including motions, jury trials, and appeals

35+ Murder Trials

Handling the most serious crimes including several high profile and special circumstance murder cases

2022 ADDA

Line Operations Prosecutor of the Year 2022

Experience

Karen has over 30 years of experience working as an attorney. After passing the bar, Karen began her career working in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office prosecuting driving under the influence cases along with other related misdemeanor offenses.  In 1992, Karen joined the Anaheim City Attorney’s Office where she handled all aspects of misdemeanor prosecution, including motions, jury trials, and appeals.

In 1996, Karen joined the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.  As a Deputy District Attorney, Karen has tried more than 100 felony cases before a jury, including over 30 homicide trials.

While in the District Attorney’s Office, Karen has had a number of assignments, including Long Beach, Huntington Park, South Gate, Pomona and downtown Los Angeles handling all aspects of litigation.  Karen was selected to join the Hardcore Gang Division, where she prosecuted several gang related homicides in the Long Beach and Harbor areas.  Karen was then asked to join the Organized Crime Division, where she prosecuted complex organized theft cases, extortion and murder for hire cases.

For the past five years, Karen has been assigned as the Special Trials prosecutor and handles the most serious crimes in the Long Branch Office, including several high profile and special circumstance murder cases.  The vast majority of the cases Karen currently handles involve severely traumatized victims and families of murder victims.  Karen has tremendous compassion for victims and their survivors.  Karen is dedicated to treating all individuals impacted by crime with respect, compassion and professionalism.  

In addition to her complex case load, Karen also handles cases filed in the Catalina courthouse. She travels to Avalon every other Friday with the judge and court staff to hear cases in the small one room courthouse. Catalina has a wide variety of cases ranging from domestic violence, driving under the influence, boating under the influence and many Fish and Game Code violations.  After court, Karen enjoys staying on the island, spending time on the beach, golfing and socializing with friends.

The interests of justice are paramount to Karen.  Karen considers it her duty to evaluate cases thoughtfully to protect the constitutional rights of the accused.  She also considers alternative solutions for those who need services such as mental health or substance abuse treatment.  She is dedicated to ensuring all individuals involved in the criminal justice system are treated fairly and with dignity.

In addition to her complex case load, Karen also handles cases filed in the Catalina courthouse. She travels to Avalon every other Friday with the judge and court staff to hear cases in the small one room courthouse. Catalina has a wide variety of cases ranging from domestic violence, driving under the influence, boating under the influence and many Fish and Game Code violations.  After court, Karen enjoys staying on the island, spending time on the beach, golfing and socializing with friends.

The interests of justice are paramount to Karen.  Karen considers it her duty to evaluate cases thoughtfully to protect the constitutional rights of the accused.  She also considers alternative solutions for those who need services such as mental health or substance abuse treatment.  She is dedicated to ensuring all individuals involved in the criminal justice system are treated fairly and with dignity.

Dignity, respect and professionalism

When Karen first began her career, there were very few female judges in the courthouses where she worked and she had a lack of female role models.  She has also seen judges treat those who appear before them, attorneys, parties and even their own court staff, poorly and with a lack of compassion or dignity.  Karen will work hard to ensure that everyone appearing in her court is treated with dignity, respect and professionalism.

Compassion, fairness and justice

Because of her over 30 years of experience in the legal system, spending most of those days in a courtroom, Karen is exceptionally well qualified to sit as a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles County.  She is dedicated to fairness, compassion and equitable justice for all parties who appear before her.

When she is not working, Karen enjoys spending time with her dogs at the park or at dog beach. 

Statewide Mid Term Election

8 November 2022

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