A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Eighteen Garrard County students complete Teen Court training and will be sworn in November 21

Eighteen Garrard County students who have completed Teen Court training will be sworn in as officers of their local court at a ceremony Nov. 21 in Lancaster. The public and media are invited to attend. The event will take place at 5 p.m. ET in the District Courtroom of the Garrard County Judicial Center at 54 Stanford St. Circuit Court Judge Janet C. Booth and District Court Judge Jeff Moss oversee...

Data shows Madison County jail crowding driven by defendants awaiting trial for low-level offenses

As the Madison County fiscal court prepares to vote on whether to raise property taxes in order to fund a new $45 million jail, newly available data shows a significant portion of the jail’s population is people being held pretrial for low-level, non-violent offenses and who have been deemed low or moderate risk of either failing to appear in court or committing new criminal activity. This data reinforces...

Citizen Foster Care Review Board to host regional community forum Friday in Lexington

The public is invited to a regional community forum Friday in Lexington to discuss improving outcomes for Kentucky children and families involved in the state foster care system. Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in the region are hosting the forum. The forum will take place from 5:30-7 p.m. ET in Bluegrass Ballroom 2 at the Lexington Convention Center, which is located at 430 W. Vine St. CFCRBs...

Public comment invited at six regional community forums for Citizens Foster Care Review Boards

The public is invited to attend any of six regional community forums across the state March 28-April 18 to discuss improving outcomes for Kentucky children and families involved in the state foster care system. Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in the regions are hosting the forums. 

The forums are among the reforms called for in House Bill 1, which was passed in 2018 to address issues with foster...

Mike Harmon: House bill will improve accountability, transparency and bring oversight to judicial branch

Lost in the headlines during this past week’s action of the 2019 Session of Kentucky’s General Assembly was the filing of a bill that, if it becomes law, will increase the transparency and bring more oversight to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Last year, after receiving a request from Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, my office conducted a historic special examination...

Administative Office of the Courts moves to allow electronically filed small claims cases statewide

Citizens statewide who represent themselves in small claims cases may now skip trips to the courthouse to file documents and instead file them electronically. The Administrative Office of the Courts expanded the availability of eFiling for self-represented litigants in small claims cases this week from three pilot counties to statewide. 

“This is a significant milestone for our eFiling program,”...

Public invited to offer input on Kentucky’s foster care system at regional forum Oct. 26 in Somerset

The public is invited to a regional community forum Friday, Oct. 26, in Somerset to discuss improving outcomes for Kentucky children and families involved in the state foster care system. Citizen Foster Care Review Boards in the region are hosting the forum. The forum will take place from 12:30-1:45 p.m. ET in the community room of the Pulaski County School District Central Office at 925 N. Main St....

Representing yourself in small claims cases, you can now eFile in Fayette, Kenton and Hardin counties

Citizens representing themselves in small claims cases in Kenton, Fayette, and Hardin counties may now skip trips to the courthouse to file documents and instead file them electronically. The Administrative Office of the Courts recently began offering eFiling for self-represented litigants in small claims cases in the three counties, with plans to take the program statewide this year. 

This is...

Nine Kentucky students honored for work in 2018 Public Service Recognition Week poster contest

Nine of the Commonwealth’s most talented young artists were honored in Frankfort Monday for their work in the 2018 Public Service Recognition Week poster contest winners. During a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion, Gov. Matt Bevin and Personnel Cabinet Secretary Thomas Stephens praised the talent and creativity of the winners. “More than 1,300 students representing 86 schools from across...

Family courts pilot project in six counties to allow public to observe some child protection cases

For the first time in Kentucky, some child protection cases will be open to the public under a four-year pilot project that will take place 2018-2021. The Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order March 13 authorizing the Open Court Pilot Project. In 2018, Family Courts will be open from March 19-May 31 in Hopkins and Jefferson counties and the four-county judicial circuit of Harrison, Nicholas, Pendleton...

Judicial Nominating Commission names nominees for Fayette County Family, District Court judgships

The Judicial Nominating Commission has announced nominees to fill two upcoming judicial vacancies in Fayette County. The vacancies will be in the 22nd Circuit’s Division 1-Family Court and Division 3-General Jurisdiction Circuit Court. The seats will become vacant Dec. 31 with the retirements of Family Court Judge Timothy N. Philpot and Circuit Court Judge James D. Ishmael. Nominees for Family Court...

Judicial Nominating Commission announces nominees for upcoming Court of Appeals vacancy

The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., on Tuesday announced nominees to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Court of Appeals. The vacancy is in the 7th Appellate District, 2nd Division. The district is composed of 22 Eastern Kentucky counties. The three nominees for the Court of Appeals judgeship are attorneys Gene Smallwood Jr. of Whitesburg, Jimmie...

Judicial Nominating Commission announces nominees for Jefferson Family Court judgeship

The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., today announced nominees to fill an upcoming vacancy in Jefferson Family Court. The three nominees for the Family Court judgeship are attorneys Brendan Russell Daugherty of Louisville, Bryan Daniel Gatewood of Fisherville and Lauren Adams Ogden of Louisville. Daugherty has his own law practice in which he handles...

Justice Cabinet creates incentive fund to provide alternatives to out-of-home placement for youth

The Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet and the Department of Juvenile Justice are launching a new incentive fund for local programs that supervise youth in the community, cutting taxpayer costs and reserving secure facilities for only the most serious offenders. The move is part of a comprehensive overhaul of Kentucky’s juvenile justice system – known as Senate Bill 200 – that took effect...

Chief Justice Minton provides update of state’s courts during 2017 State of Judiciary Address

Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. gave the legislature an update today on how the Judicial Branch is handling the complex issues facing the court system. “As we meet today, the challenges before us are many,” he said. “We’re grappling to keep up with rapid technological and social developments. The opioid epidemic has expanded court caseloads and altered Drug Court treatment in ways...

Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks’ celebrate 25 years of Trust For Life at AOC college

Kentucky circuit court clerks celebrated the 25th anniversary of their Trust For Life program as part of the 2017 Circuit Court Clerks Fall College that took place Sept. 17-20 in Covington. The Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks created the Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks’ Trust For Life to educate Kentuckians about the life-saving mission of organ donation. The program was the first of its...

Mark Wohlander: Whistleblowers play key role in rooting out government waste, fraud, abuse

By Mark Wohlander Special to KyForward One could only hope Chief Justice John D. Minton was sincere when he said “transparency and accountability are bedrock principles in maintaining trust in state government.” More than 30 years after the Kentucky legislature enacted the state’s open records laws, the Kentucky Supreme Court has finally acknowledged that it is not above the law. The policy overturns...

Kentucky Supreme Court adopts first formal open records policy, expands electronic access

The Supreme Court of Kentucky has approved an open records policy that guides how the public accesses the administrative records of the state court system. The seven Supreme Court justices voted unanimously to adopt the policy, which will take effect Aug. 15. This is the first open records policy for the Administrative Office of the Courts, the operations arm of the court system. The policy is in...

Kentucky Drug Court head Connie M. Payne inducted into National Association of Drug Court Hall of Fame

Connie M. Payne, who heads Kentucky Drug Court and other specialty court programs for the Administrative Office of the Courts, has been named to the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Hall of Fame for her lasting contributions to the treatment court field. Payne was inducted into NADCP’s Stanley M. Goldstein Drug Court Hall of Fame on July 12 during the association’s annual conference...

Suspended Administrative Office of Courts employee Brown files suit on ‘improprieties,’ faces termination

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A suspended employee of the Administrative Office of the Courts has filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging improprieties within the government agency that oversees the operation of the state’s judicial system. Scott Brown was placed on administrative leave earlier this year after reporting concerns to his supervisor, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Franklin...