Kentucky chief justice delivers State of the Judiciary at Louisville Law

Dean Colin Crawford and Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.
Dean Colin Crawford and Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.

On November 2, 2018, the University of Louisville School of Law hosted Kentucky's interim joint judiciary committee. The meeting included Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr.'s State of the Judiciary address.

"The University of Louisville School of Law was honored to host this meeting of the judiciary and to be the setting for Chief Justice Minton's address," says Dean Colin Crawford. "As a center of legal education, the School of Law is always eager to show our students the way that the theory they learn in class is put into practice in the legal system. This event was a valuable experience for our students and faculty."

In his address, Chief Justice Minton touched on several areas: civil justice reform, judicial redistricting, pretrial justice reform, juvenile justice reform and court technology, to name a few.

On the topic of civil justice reform, he outlined the recently formed Civil Justice Reform Commission, which has recommended the development of a business courts pilot program. These business courts are designed to hear complex business disputes and are meant to ease the burden on regular court dockets and improve efficiency.

He also addressed the topic of bail reform.

"The Kentucky Court of Justice is answering the growing call for reform by joining other states taking part in the Pretrial Justice Institute's 3DaysCount campaign," he said. 

He explained that the campaign is a national effort to make pretrial justice fairer and more effective by reducing the number of people in jail without sacrificing public safety. "The program is based on the premise that even three days in jail can leave many people less likely to appear in court and more likely to commit new crimes because of the stress incarceration places on jobs, housing and family connections," he said. 

On another pretrial issue, Chief Justice Minton also outlined the October launch of a pilot program in Jefferson County that aims to bring a case management, service-oriented approach to the Monitored Conditional Release Program for defendants in Circuit Court.

"The Pretrial Assisted Re-Entry & Treatment Services Program -- called PARTS -- reduces the burgeoning jail population by allowing certain defendants to be released pending trial. The pilot program will serve up to 25 people with non-violent, non-sexual felony cases in Circuit Court who would otherwise remain incarcerated pending trial," he said. 

The goal of the program is to provide defendants with the tools they need — such as assistance with substance abuse, housing and employment — to become productive members of society, he said.

In addition to the State of the Judiciary address, the meeting included a summary of prosecutorial issues and concerns from commonwealth's attorneys and county attorneys, a discussion of firearm storage and a discussion of Kentucky's hate crime law.

Colin Crawford, John D. Minton Jr., John Meyers
Dean Colin Crawford, Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. and John Meyers of the KBA

The meeting was attended by several special guests, including Chief Judge Denise Clayton, Kentucky Court of Appeals; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and John Meyers, executive director of the Kentucky Bar Association.

The committee members who were present at the meeting:

  • Co-Chair, Representative Joseph M. Fischer
  • Co-Chair, Senator Whitney Westerfield
  • Senator Joe Bowen
  • Senator Danny Carroll
  • Senator Perry B. Clark
  • Senator John Schickel
  • Senator Wil Schroder
  • Senator Dan “Malano” Seum
  • Representative John Blanton
  • Representative McKenzie Cantrell
  • Representative Joni L. Jenkins
  • Representative Chad McCoy
  • Representative C. Wesley Morgan
  • Representative Jason Nemes
  • Representative Jason Petrie
  • Representative Brandon Reed