Judge Amy Karan, who resigned from the Miam-Dade Circuit Court bench in early 2010 as the rare neurological disease Multiple System Atrophy overtook her, died of the disease on Sunday. She was 54.
A Long Islander, Karan graduated from the University of Miami and UM’s law school, started out as a family lawyer in a private practice, then dedicated herself to protecting domestic-violence victims as administrative judge of the dedicated Domestic Violence Court in 1997. She served for 12 years.
She was a former assistant city attorney in North Bay Village.
Karan sought any opportunity to teach, including legal and judicial education at the National Judicial College, and evidence, family law and Florida practice at St. Thomas University.
Karan also changed policies to favor victims. In 2007, she began requiring the subjects of domestic-violence injunction to surrender a concealed weapons permit, in addition to firearms.
Among her professional activities, Karan chaired the Miami- Dade County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council from 1997 until March 2009, and the Florida Bar Code and Rules of Evidence Committee from 2007 until 2009.
“It is always significant when a person who is larger than life passes. But when they are also young, it is more of a loss and a shock,’’ said Teresa Descilo, executive director of the Trauma Resolution Center, formerly the Victim Services Center. “Judge Karan was a remarkable human being who leaves a considerable legacy. Thousands will continue to benefit from the work she did when she walked the earth.’’
In 1997, Karan was named Miami-Dade County "Up and Comer" in government. The award was given to individuals under 40 “who demonstrate a genuine desire to contribute to society.’’ That same year, Karan was named one of the "Unsung Heroes of Domestic Violence" for her work on criminal and civil violence cases and community efforts.
She wrote prolifically, and was considered an authority on the issue of firearms and domestic violence.
Among her awards, Karan received the V. Robert Payant Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in teaching from the National Judicial College in 2010. In February, the Greenberg Traurig law firm established the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade to honor Karan’s contributions.
“Amy Karan was lauded throughout the country for her visionary views on a better approach to treating the issue of domestic violence’’ said Hilarie Bass, co-president of Greenberg Traurig. “The Miami-Dade community was blessed to have been the beneficiary of her vision, her brilliance and her leadership in implementing her innovative approach throughout our community.’’
Karan is survived by daughter Amber Kornreich, a student at Florida International University College of Law. She was divorced from Gerald Kornreich, an attorney.
A celebration of her life is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday at Eternal Light Memorial Chapel, 18840 W. Dixie Hwy. in Northeast Miami-Dade. Burial follows at Beth David cemetery, 3201 NW 72nd Ave. in Hollywood.