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FRANKFORT – District court Judge Rebecca Ward, who serves Bullitt County, participated in the 2009 District Judges Fall College held Oct. 18-23 at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz.
The Administrative Office of the Courts offered the college for District Court judges throughout the state.
“District Court judges are dedicated, hard-working individuals,” said Chief Regional District Court Judge Karen a. Thomas, president of the Kentucky District Judges Association. “They participate in the District Judges College and other continuing education opportunities to stay on the cutting edge of legal issues that affect the people of the commonwealth of Kentucky. The fall college covered a variety of important topics for new and seasoned judges.”
The judges attended courses about efficiently managing extradition proceedings when Kentucky is holding a fugitive from justice from another state, handling evictions and other landlord/tenant matters efficiently and consistently with state laws, and understanding the court’s limited role in post-judgment collection proceedings and explaining that role to self-represented litigants.
Other courses covered identifying and responding to the needs and expectations of self-represented litigants and court personnel, recognizing g evidentiary issues and correctly ruling on the admissibility of evidence at trial, and understanding and sentencing for certain offenses (known as enhanceable offenses) that are eligible for a higher penalty due to an offender’s previous offense.
As part of a class on domestic violence, judges participated in an activity that helped them examine the barriers that domestic violence victims face while seeking safety from their abusers.
Judges also attended sessions on court interpreting services and issues that cause stress for judges, such as contempt of court and incompetent counsel. They received an overview of the Judicial Branch budget, pretrial services and published appellate cases relating to District Court.
AOC Director Laurie K. Dudgeon addressed the judges during the college. Other speakers for the sessions included state Sen. Robert Stivers, state Rep. John Tilley, attorney Brian S Katz of Paducah, law professor Henry “Steve” L. Stephens Jr. of the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law, state district judges and AOC personnel.
District Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. 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 are all District Court matters, as well as voluntary and involuntary mental commitments and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse.
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort supports the activities of approximately 3,800 Kentucky Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks. The Division of Judicial Branch Education provides regular training colleges for district judges.