Skip to main content

Judge Karen Donohue - Superior Court

How to contact a King County Superior Court judge and get ready for your trial or motion.
  • Courtroom Number: 1
  • Bailiff: Linda Tran
  • Department: 22
  • Assignment: Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA)


Judge Karen Matson Donohue was appointed to the King County Superior Court by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee in 2018.

Judge Donohue has served as the Chief Criminal Judge and Assistant Chief Criminal Judge and as a member of King County Superior Court’s Executive Committee, the Education Committee, Budget Committee and Personnel Committee. Judge Donohue served as a Superior Court Judges’ Association (SCJA) District 1 Trustee in 2019 to 2022 and is on the State Gender & Justice Incarceration, Gender & Justice Subcommittee. She is an active member of the National Association of Women Judges and has served in several leadership roles within that organization: Technology Committee Chair (2015 to 2016); District 13 Director (2016 to 2018); Vice President of Publications (2018 to 2019); President Elect (2019 to 2020); President (2020 to 2021), and Immediate Past President (2021 to 2022). In 2016, she was awarded the Justice Vaino Spencer Leadership Award from the NAWJ and the Nevins Award from the Washington Judges’ Foundation.

Prior to her appointment to Superior Court, she served for seven years on the Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) bench. Judge Donohue was the presiding judge of SMC between 2016 and the time of her appointment. Prior to being elected, Judge Donohue worked as a Judge Pro Tem in several district and municipal courts, in a general practice firm, as a law clerk/bailiff, prosecutor and defense attorney, consultant and solo practitioner and as General Counsel at a global telecommunications consulting and network development firm. In 1998,

Judge Donohue relocated to Dublin with her family for a year, where she also acted as General Counsel to an Irish mobile phone company. Judge Donohue earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and her law degree from Seattle University School of Law.


Before contacting this court

Please review the review the applicable State Court Rules and Local Court Rules before contacting the court.

Litigants without counsel may find Legal Links and Resources and Family Law Facilitator Program helpful.

Please notify the bailiff by email to strike a motion and include

  • Case name
  • Cause number
  • Date for which the motion is noted

Pretrial Requirements

Judge Donohue requires all parties and counsel to work together to complete the Witness Examination Time Form (128KB), which must be submitted together with other pretrial material 5 court days prior to trial.


Judge Donohue performs weddings 7 days a week by appointment. Please email the bailiff for availability and fee information.