FRANKFORT, Ky., April 26, 2005 - Ninety-three Kentucky district judges attended the 2005 District Judges Traffic Law Enforcement Conference offered by the Education Services Division of the Kentucky Court of Justice. The conference was April 3-6 at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz, Ky.
"District Court judges address many complex issues in cases involving impaired driving,” said Judge Susan Johnson, president of the Kentucky District Judges Association and chief regional district judge for Johnson, Lawrence and Martin counties. “We want to arm judges with current scientific data and research findings so they can effectively preside over these cases.”
The conference was funded by a grant from the Kentucky Governor's Highway Safety Program, which receives federal support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA’s recommendations to improve impaired driving programs for the states have provided the foundation for Kentucky’s DUI Gold Standards Program.
The conference offered sessions related to many of the Gold Standards, including judicial involvement in community traffic safety and ethical issues, forensic foundations of toxicology and pharmacology in impaired driving cases, standard field sobriety testing, search and seizure in traffic enforcement cases, and sentencing issues. The judges also participated in demonstrations of a Breathalyzer machine, and a SIDNE (Simulated Impaired Driving Experience) Car and fatal vision goggles, which simulate impairment.
District Judges, court officials and other professionals conducted the conference. Those presenting included Dr. David Benjamin of Boston, Mass.; Judge Karl Grube of Pinellas County Court in Florida; Ike Avery, a clinical pharmacologist with the NHTSA; Dr. Tom Kelly of the University of Kentucky; and Kentucky State Police Troopers Mark Applin of Post 16 in Henderson, Barry Meadows of Post 1 in Mayfield and Stu Recke of Post 2 in Madisonville. Other presenters were Therese Richerson, coordinator of the KSP DUI Gold Standards Project; KSP Crime Lab staff Jane Purcell and Jeff Warnecke; Terry Mosser, Drug Recognition Expert with Criminal Justice Training; and Donna Hillman, DUI Program administrator for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
District Court is a court of limited jurisdiction which hears civil cases involving $4,000 or less, nonfelony traffic offenses, juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, cases relating to domestic violence and abuse, guardianships for disabled people, probate of wills and felony preliminary hearings. The Small Claims Division is part of District Court’s jurisdiction and informally handles matters with a value of $1,500 or less. The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort supports the activities of more than 3,400 Kentucky Court of Justice employees, including elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks.