Special to the Mountain Advocate
Knox County Circuit Court Clerk Greg Helton recently participated in the 2015 Circuit Court Clerks Fall College in Louisville. The Administrative Office of the Courts provided the education program Aug. 31-Sept. 3 for the state’s circuit court clerks.
The circuit court clerks attended sessions on topics including juvenile justice reform, a new domestic violence law for dating partners and court technology. Offices of Circuit Court Clerk must implement new procedures and adopt the latest legal forms in accordance with the new legislation and adapt to updated technology in their offices.
“New laws and technology are bringing change quickly to the Offices of Circuit Court Clerk,” said Bell County Circuit Court Clerk Colby Slusher, who is also president of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks. “The college helped prepare us for the new technology and get us ready to handle cases under the reforms with juvenile justice and domestic violence laws.”
House Bill 8 extends civil protection – emergency protective orders and domestic violence orders – to dating partners and will take effect in January 2016. Circuit clerks process petitions for EPOs and DVOs. Senate Bill 200 is overhauling Kentucky’s juvenile justice system by focusing on community-based treatment over incarceration. Meanwhile, the AOC is rolling out electronic case filing for the first time in Kentucky. Circuit court clerks are adapting to this new way of accepting court filings as eFiling becomes available in all 120 counties by the end of 2015.
Other sessions at the college gave the circuit clerks the opportunity to share information with each other and meet with the justices of the Supreme Court of Kentucky and AOC Director Laurie K. Dudgeon.
They also participated in a meeting about how the Judicial and Legislative branches can work together to enhance the services provided by state government. They met with Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. Also attending were Court of Appeals Chief Judge Glenn E. Acree; Family Court Judge Stephen M. George, who serves Jefferson County and is president of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Judges; and District Court Judge Vanessa M. Dickson, who serves Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties, and was then president of the Kentucky Association of District Court Judges.
Another session at the college offered tips for educating communities about the importance of organ donation. The Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks sponsors the Trust For Life program, which promotes organ and tissue donation through driver licensing and the Kentucky Organ Donor registry.
The college included 12.5 hours of continuing education credit for the circuit clerks.