Legislation to realign judicial circuits in Kentucky is heading to the House floor. The measure, already supported by the Kentucky Supreme Court got the backing of the House Judiciary Committee Monday.
The legislation calls for the elimination in 2023 of one circuit judgeship in Floyd County. Circuit Judge Tom Smith said that would create a hardship there because of the growing number of drug cases being heard in Floyd and cases from neighboring counties. “My concern are the people of Floyd County because I think that they will have an insufficient number of judges to handle the caseload that is there,” noted Judge Smith.
The legislation also calls upon the Supreme Court to review caseloads for district and circuit courts across the state once every eight years. Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton says the recommendations come after a three year review. “We believe our methodology is sound. It is always difficult for any community to change. But change is necessary because populations have shifted in the Commonwealth,” said the chief justice.
The judicial realigning also calls for creating a family court judge for Pulaski, Lincoln, and Rockcastle Counties and another for Boone and Gallatin Counties.
A district judge in Bullitt would become a family court judge. And district court jurisdictions would be combined in Fulton and Hickman as well as Carlisle and Ballard Counties.