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Your professional background:
I have been the Jefferson County District Court Judge in Division Six for twenty years. Prior to sitting on the bench I was self-employed general practitioner for 18 years, representing clients in both civil and criminal matters in both state and federal court. In addition I represented I.U.E. Local 761 and its members.
What role can a district court judge play to reduce jail overcrowding and which tools, if any, would you use to that end?
The Jefferson County Jail Policy Review Committee and the Kentucky bail reform committee are currently working with law enforcement, with members of the court system as well as community members to find solutions to jail overcrowding. Experienced judges are crucial to implementation of any new policies that arise from the work of these committees.
Do you feel like district court could work more efficiently? If so, how can you help in this process?
The biggest obstacle to efficiency is the sheer volume of cases handled in Jefferson District Court on a daily basis. The National Center for State Courts, after a study of Jefferson County courts, has suggested the addition of two new judicial divisions to handle the volume experienced here.
What in your legal experience makes you the best choice?
Experience prior to taking the bench and on the bench. I have tried fifty jury cases and represented clients from a wide spectrum of the community as both a plaintiff and defense attorney. I have twenty years of experience on the bench and presided as Chief Judge of District Court during the prior reorganization of the Court.
Any other issues:
The Opiod Epidemic contributes significantly to jail overcrowding. District Court (and now Family Court) has a docket dedicated to cases impacted by drug use. Treatment options have increased, but not at the pace of criminal drug use. The community and Commonwealth of Kentucky must continue to educate themselves in regard to the best practice for dealing with opiod use in court cases.