Circuit Court Judge Oscar Gayle House, who serves Clay, Jackson and Leslie counties, participated in sessions on racial fairness in jury selection, eyewitness testimony and the opioid epidemic at the 2017 Circuit Judges College in Louisville. The Education Committee of the Kentucky Circuit Judges Association and the Office of Judicial Branch Education at the Administrative Office of the Courts developed the college. The college included several technology-related sessions, including those on e-Discovery, judicial and ethical issues for judges using social media, and digital evidence.
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“The annual Circuit Judges College helps judges stay current on court trends, new laws and the latest technology,” said Circuit Judge Jean C. Logue, who serves Clark and Madison counties and was elected president of the Kentucky Circuit Judges Association at the college. “One of the most interesting sessions this year dealt with digital evidence. With smart phones, tablets, computers, GPS and more, judges frequently see digital evidence in their courtrooms, which presents unique issues when we’re evaluating what can be admitted in a case. It’s sessions like this and the opportunity to network with our fellow judges that make the college such an important resource.”
Other sessions at the college focused on medical reports as evidence, laws regarding friend of the court and guardian ad litem designations, and sovereign citizens, who believe they are exempt from laws based on the U.S. Constitution.
The judges heard from the Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges about decisions that affect the work of Circuit Court. In other sessions, the judges learned about U.S. Supreme Court decisions, state legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2017 and potential 2018 legislation pertinent to the courts.
The college also offered sessions specifically for judges who oversee family law cases. The sessions covered tax issues and retirement assets in divorce cases, laws on assisted reproduction, and reviews of state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions in family law cases.
The college included continuing judicial education credit for the circuit judges.
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases.
Family Court is a division of Circuit Court. In counties that have a Family Court, the court has primary jurisdiction in cases involving family issues, including divorces, adoption, child support, domestic violence and juvenile status offenses.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of 3,400 court system employees and 404 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.