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Judge Karen is an American arbitration-based reality court show that aired in first-run syndication and debuted on September 8, 2008 in 48 of the top 50 U.S. markets. As with other court shows, such as The People's Court and Judge Judy, a retired real-life judge presides over small claims court cases. On this show, the judge is Karen Mills-Francis, an American woman twice elected Miami-Dade County Court judge, who claims that "justice isn't always black and white". She did not wear the traditional black robe, but instead a burgundy one. The introductory sequence showed her presiding over cases, with the announcer saying "She's tough, she's fair, and she cares". The show was produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
To distinguish itself from other shows in the crowded field, Judge Karen permitted litigants to cross-examine witnesses, with a segment at the end in which Mills-Francis answers videotaped questions from viewers. This segment was entitled "Ask Judge Karen"