MISSOULA – Missoula County District Court Judge Karen Townsend says she’ll “miss the work” of serving the county when she retires but believes “the time has come to pass the torch.”
Townsend has informed Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike McGrath that she’ll be retiring at the end of August. Townsend has served nearly a decade on the bench and was the first woman to ever be elected as a district court judge in Missoula County.
During that service, she’s presided over thousands of criminal and civil cases. But without question, the most complex was the three year battle between Mountain Water and the City of Missoula over control of the city’s water utility.
Despite the dizzying array of exhibits and testimony presented by a battery of lawyers, Judge Townsend was able to deliver ruling after ruling, keeping the multi-million dollar dispute on track, with a proceeding that withstood the scrutiny of several Supreme Court appeals.
In her letter, Townsend said she had been “blessed with wonderful fellow judges” and a “staff that is second to none.”
The State Judicial Nomination Commission will begin looking for her replacement.