FRANKFORT — District Court Judge Jeff Dotson, who serves Boyle and Mercer counties; District Judge Michael Loy who served Adair and Casey counties; and District Court Judge Janet C. Booth, who served Garrard, Jessamine and Lincoln counties participated in the 2012 Kentucky District Judges College that took place Sept. 16-19 at Lake Barkley State Park in Cadiz. The Administrative Office of the Courts provided the judicial education program for the state’s District Court judges. The program included 19 hours of continuing education credit for the judges.
The judges received updates on case law and legislation and attended sessions on best practices, technology, probate, extradition and cyberstalking. They also heard from Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. about the work of the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission, which was formed to identify the most pressing legal needs of those unable to afford lawyers and create a statewide plan to address those needs.
“Civil legal aid is a critical resource for low-income families who can’t afford an attorney for evictions, child custody issues and other matters,” said Jefferson District Court Judge Donald E. Armstrong, acting president of the Kentucky District Judges Association. “Chief Justice Minton encouraged the district judges to support Kentucky’s civil legal aid efforts by letting citizens know how to find legal assistance and improving court processes for those with limited access to attorneys.”
The college also included sessions on substance abuse issues, including courses about ignition interlock devices, drug testing and the Intoxilyzer equipment used statewide for breath-alcohol testing.
District Court judges handle 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. In Fiscal Year 2011, there were 707,459 District Court cases statewide.