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Court Talks: Improving the Jefferson County Justice System

Public invited to five focus groups in May and June 2019
Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway, Louisville

  • Thursday, May 23, Drug Court/Courtroom Experience, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 6, Bail/Incarceration, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 12, Eviction, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 20, Family Court/Juvenile Court, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 22, Expungement, 10-11:30 a.m.

Court Talks 2 kicks off May 23, 2019, when the Kentucky Judicial Branch and the Jefferson County Racial Fairness Commission host the first of five focus groups on the Jefferson County justice system. The public is invited to attend. Graduate students from the University of Louisville Sociology Department will conduct the focus groups.

“We want the community to help us better understand their needs and concerns about our local justice system,” said Denise G. Clayton, chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals and chair of the Jefferson County Racial Fairness Commission. “We hope people will take time to come to one or more of the focus groups, depending on their interest in the topic being discussed that day.”

Community Engagement Listening Session
The Court Talks series began May 16, 2019, with the Jefferson County Community Engagement Listening Session at Spalding University. The goal was to give the public the chance to provide feedback on their interactions with and feelings about the agencies that make up the Jefferson County justice system. Representatives from these agencies were on hand to educate the public about the role they play in the legal and judicial systems.

The presenters were from the Department of Pretrial Services and the Court Designated Worker Program of the Administrative Office of the Courts; Jefferson Circuit Court, Family Court and District Court; Jefferson County Office of Circuit Court Clerk; Office of Jefferson County Attorney; Office of Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney; Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defenders Corp.; Louisville Metro Department of Corrections; Kentucky Department of Corrections; Kentucky Division of Probation & Parole; Kentucky Parole Board; and the Legal Aid Society. You can find the event program with the agenda and list of panelists  here.

“We were heartened by the candid discussions at the listening session,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said. “These conversations started when the Jefferson County Racial Fairness Commission was created in 2001 and continue today. We want to use the insights we glean from the listening sessions, the focus groups and the survey to bring about positive change to the judicial and legal systems.”

The Community Engagement Planning Committee includes Chief Judge Clayton as chair and representatives from the Louisville Mayor’s Office, the Louisville Urban League, the Louisville Metro Police Department, Metro Corrections, Restorative Justice Louisville, the Louisville Day Reporting Center, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health & Wellness and the U of L Department of Sociology.

Public Provided Input Through Survey
The University of Louisville Department of Sociology conducted research on public perceptions of the court system in Louisville by collecting survey data. The 15-minute survey was open to anyone who interacts with the Jefferson County judicial and legal systems and the results will be used to make changes to the court system. The deadline to take the survey was June 22, 2019.