Judge Regina Walter’s fervor for justice is shaping the way people are treated when they and their families come into the region’s court system.
“I am absolutely passionate about issues involving fairness and equitable treatment,” she says. She has harnessed that passion into creating concrete programs and innovations in the courts, in education and in the area’s civic life.
A juvenile magistrate for 21 years, she has spent the last three years as a county court judge. “Juvenile is the most important place any judicial officer can work. It is the place you can make the biggest difference,” she says. But, it is also difficult to see the failed adoptions, incest and other heartbreaking situations, so she is glad for the assignment to county court.
As a juvenile judge, she saw the damage parental drug use can wreak on families. Most often when children are removed from home, parental drug use is the problem. So, she created the Fourth Judicial District’s Family Treatment Drug Court in 2001.
Now, instead of taking the children away and placing them in foster care or often failed adoptions, Family Treatment Drug Court intervenes with family preservation work, drug treatment and parenting classes. “When I left, only one percent of these children were being placed in stranger adoptions,” she says.
Appalled that so many more people of color are incarcerated, she also organized the minority overrepresentation subcommittee in the best practices court. A cultural competence trainer for the Fourth Judicial District, she’s done diversity training for judges nationwide for the Children’s Defense Fund.
Trying to keep minorities out of the judicial system in the first place, she has organized four successful Educating Children of Color summits in Colorado Springs. Walter has won numerous judicial and civic awards. The Colorado College graduate received her law degree from the University of Tulsa. She is a proud mother of three and has a grandson. She is a coach of the Palmer High School mock trials team. And, on top of all this, she just finished a quilt for her daughter’s college dorm room.