Kentucky Court of Justice
Newly Elected Officials Orientation Conference held in Lexington
In one of the largest conferences of its kind in years, 90 new judges and circuit court clerks participated in the Newly Elected Officials Orientation Conference at the Embassy Suites in Lexington Dec. 11-15. The Office for Judicial Branch Education of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) presented the conference to facilitate the transition of the newly elected circuit and district judges and circuit court clerks as they prepared to take office Jan. 2.
The conference was primarily offered for judges and circuit clerks who were elected in November 2006, but training was also made available to new officials who had taken office earlier thorough appointment or previous elections. Thirty-seven new circuit judges, 26 district judges and 27 circuit court clerks took part in the conference that was led by experienced judges and circuit clerks, AOC personnel and other instructors.
“The Judicial Branch of state government is responsible for providing citizens a forum in which to assure their constitutional and legal rights in a timely and efficient manner,” said Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert, who invited all newly elected court officials to attend the conference. “More than 1 million cases flow through Kentucky courts each year. Judges, circuit clerks and court employees must work together to maintain an honorable and independent judiciary.”
The judges and circuit clerks met in joint session during the first two days of the conference to learn about administrative procedures, personnel policies, court technology, court security and other pertinent topics. During the last three days of the conference, participants attended separate sessions that were specific to the office of circuit judge, district judge and circuit court clerk.
“This comprehensive orientation program was extremely valuable in preparing judges and circuit clerks to take office,” said Dr. Deborah Williamson, general manager of the AOC Office for Judicial Branch Education.
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction and hears all felony criminal matters and civil matters involving more than $4,000. It has jurisdiction over capital offenses and felonies, dissolution of marriage, adoption, termination of parental rights, land disputes and contested probate cases. Family Court is a division of Circuit Court. The Administrative Office of the Courts supports the activities of more than 3,500 Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.
District Court hears civil cases involving $4,000 or less, juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, cases relating to domestic violence and abuse, guardianships for disabled people, traffic offenses, 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 supports the activities of more than 3,500 Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.
Circuit court clerks have offices in all 120 Kentucky counties and are responsible for managing the records of circuit and district courts. The Administrative Office of the Courts supports the activities of more than 3,500 Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.