Kentucky Court of Justice
Newly elected district judges participate in orientation program
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Newly elected district judges representing 24 Kentucky counties participated in the New District Judges Orientation from Dec. 5-7 at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. The AOC Division of Judicial Branch Education hosted the orientation for 12 district judges-elect and two judges who had been serving by appointment and retained their seats in the November election.
The district judges-elect have only six weeks from the time their election results are certified Nov. 23 until they take office Jan. 3, 2011. The two judges who had been serving by appointment took office immediately.
All newly elected judges get help from the AOC, the operations arm of the state court system. In addition to the orientation, they were invited to an AOC vendor fair where court personnel provided assistance with office space, human resources matters, computer equipment, e-mail addresses, stationery, judicial robes and more.
“It’s important for new judges to get off to a good start and this comprehensive orientation was designed to help them know what to expect when they take office,” said Campbell County District Court Judge Karen A. Thomas, who also serves as chief regional district judge for the Northern Region, president of the Kentucky District Judges Association and chair of the District Judges Education Committee. “They benefited from the expertise of the experienced judges who conducted the sessions and were also able to network with their newly elected colleagues.”
The presentations covered such areas as ethics and conduct, pretrial and bail, evictions, young offenders and cases involving domestic violence, probate, driving under the influence and small claims. The newly elected judges also attended sessions about extradition, disability and adult guardianship, criminal procedure, DNA and paternity, and mental health issues. They had the opportunity to earn 17.5 continuing judicial education credits through the orientation.
“You are assuming a position of high calling and great responsibility,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said in a letter congratulating the newly elected judges. “The Judicial Branch provides a forum in which citizens can exercise their constitutional and legal rights in a timely and efficient manner. More than 1 million cases flow through Kentucky courts each year and judges and court personnel must work together to maintain an honorable, independent judiciary.”
District Court is the court of limited jurisdiction. District Court handles juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, traffic offenses, probate of wills, felony preliminary hearings, small claims and civil cases involving $4,000 or less, voluntary and involuntary mental commitments and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC Division of Judicial Branch Education provides continuing judicial education to Kentucky judges. The AOC in Frankfort supports the activities of approximately 3,400 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.
The newly elected district judges who participated in the orientation are:
Allen and Simpson counties (49th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Martha Blair Harrison
Boone and Gallatin counties (54th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Jeff Smith
Breckinridge, Grayson and Meade counties (46th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Kenneth Harold Goff II
Clinton, Russell and Wayne counties (40th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Scarlett B. Latham
Crittenden, Union and Webster counties (5th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Daniel M. Heady
Fayette County (22nd Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Kim Wilkie
Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton and Robertson counties (18th Judicial District)
Judge Charles W. Kuster (was appointed and then won election to retain judicial seat)
Jefferson County (30th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Sandra L. McLaughlin (3rd Division)
Judge-Elect Gina Kay Calvert (11th Division)
Judge-Elect Deana “Dee” McDonald (13th Division)
Judge-Elect Stephanie Burke (14th Division)
Letcher County (47th Judicial District)
Judge Kevin Mullins (was appointed and then won election to retain judicial seat)
McCreary and Whitley counties (34th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Fred F. White
McLean and Muhlenberg counties (45th Judicial District)
Judge-Elect Brian Crick