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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 74457 Find in a Library
Title: Implementation of Court Reform in Kentucky (From Court Reform in Seven States, P 1-39, 1980, Lee Powell, ed. - See NCJ-74456)
Author(s): W E Davis
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 39
Sponsoring Agency: National Ctr for State Courts
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Sale Source: National Ctr for State Courts
Publications Dept
300 Newport Avenue
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Recent court reform activity in the State of Kentucky is described; reasons for reform, goal establishment and modification, and methods are emphasized.
Abstract: Recent court reform represents the largest change in Kentucky's governmental history. The abolition of all lay judges and the introduction of State funding of all court operations have been accomplished in 3 years. Immediately after the regular session of the 1972 general assembly, recognition of the growing need for judicial improvement resulted in the formation of several committees charged with the task of drafting a new judicial article. In final form, the article was ratified by 54 percent of the total vote, a convincing majority for any constitutional amendment. The single most effective aid in passage of the judicial reform article was the press. In addition, the post-Watergate era produced a desire to make changes in government to mitigate the climate of distrust. With regard to implementation of the reform measures, a nucleus of vital staff had been assembled months before the vote on the amendment. The legislative program itself covered more than 20,000 separate statutes. Background references such as the American Bar Association Standards were consulted. The legislature created 113 judicial positions for initiation of the district court system in 1978. In addition, the judicial article provided that in any county in which no district judge resided there would be a trial commissioner. A weighted caseload approach was taken in determining the number of clerical personnel needed. As an alternative to court reporters, who historically operated in the State as independent contractors, the use of tape recorder was explored and instituted. The recordkeeping system was totally reorganized to improve quality and to reduce the quantity of records. It is suggested that the success of the court reform effort be evaluated in terms of accountability, flexibility, quality of justice, efficiency of case processing, and simplification of litigation. This article is part of a collection of narratives published by the National Center for State Courts.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Court reorganization; Kentucky; National Center for State Courts (NCSC); Reform; State courts
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