Kentucky Court of Justice
Nelson County Judge Robert W. Heaton elected president of Kentucky District Judges Association
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Nelson County District Court Judge Robert W. Heaton has been elected president of the Kentucky District Judges Association. Judge Heaton was elected to serve by his fellow judges at the District Judges College that took place Oct. 18-21 at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. His term as president is two years. He succeeds Campbell County District Court Judge Karen A. Thomas as president.
“Judge Heaton has served District Court for many years and has the confidence and respect of his fellow district judges,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “District Court judges have heavy dockets involving a wide variety of cases. I look forward to working with Judge Heaton on issues that are important to district judges and the court system as a whole.”
As president of the District Judges Association, Judge Heaton administers the business of the association, which is comprised of the state’s 116 District Court judges. His role as president includes establishing committees and presiding over committee meetings, monitoring legislation affecting the courts, serving as spokesman for the district judges and presiding at judicial conferences held for district judges.
“It is an honor to be elected to serve my fellow district judges as president of the Kentucky District Judges Association,” Judge Heaton said. “I have great respect for the men and women who serve as district judges in our commonwealth and look forward to representing them during the next two years.”
Judge Heaton has served as district judge for Nelson County since 1999. Prior to his judicial career, he was an attorney in private practice and served as the city attorney for Bardstown for 19 years. Judge Heaton earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University and a juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Judge Heaton and his wife, Lee, reside in Bardstown and have two adult children, Robert Jr. and Carrie.
District Court is the court of limited jurisdiction and handles juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, violations, traffic offenses, probate of wills, arraignments, felony probable cause hearings, small claims involving $2,500 or less, civil cases involving $5,000 or less, voluntary and involuntary mental commitments and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse. Appeals from District Court decisions are made to the local Circuit Court. In Fiscal Year 2011, there were 707,459 District Court cases statewide.
The AOC in Frankfort is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,300 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.