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Circuit Judge Karen Conrad and District Judges Jerry Crosby and Diana Wheeler, who serve Henry, Oldham and Trimble counties, recently participated in annual fall conferences hosted by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
The 2007 Circuit Judges Fall Conference was in Louisville Sept. 17-19, while the 2007 District Judges Fall Conference was Oct. 7-10 in Lexington.
The circuit judges conference provided sessions on how judges can best handle cases of shaken baby syndrome. The group heard from Dr. Ronald Uscinski, a neurosurgeon from Washington, D.C., and Dr. Betty Spivack, a forensic pediatrician, both of whom are experts in shaken baby syndrome.
Other topics on the agenda were issues in criminal proceedings, docket management, termination of parental rights and voluntary adoption, and dependency, neglect and abuse cases. Presenters included Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert, Kentucky Supreme Court Justices Lisabeth Hughes Abramson and John D. Minton Jr., Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sara W. Combs, Administrative Office of the Courts Director Jason M. Nemes, and nearly 30 Circuit Court judges from throughout Kentucky.
Circuit court is the court of general jurisdiction and hears all criminal matters involving more than $4,000. It has jurisdiction over capital offenses and felonies, dissolution of marriage, adoption, termination of parental rights, land disputes and contested probate cases. Family court is a division of circuit court.
At the district judges conference, Barbara E. Bergman, a national expert on the topic of evidence and a faculty member at the University of New Mexico School of Law, taught an in-depth session on the principles of the rules of evidence. Steve Hanson, director of the Bureau of State Operated Addiction Treatment Centers for New York state gave a comprehensive presentation on substance abuse and the vicious cycle of addiction. Kentucky district judges taught the other sessions, which focused on case law, contempt and fines, innovative judicial programs, elder abuse and adult protective services, and domestic violence.
District court handles juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, traffic offenses, probates of will, felony preliminary hearings and civil cases involving $4,000 or less. District judges serve four-year terms.