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Judges in One Kentucky Court and Their Vacation ‘Honor System’ Get Poor Marks from Lawyers

Posted Aug 30, 2012 1:46 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Some lawyers didn’t hold back in a survey intended to gauge reaction to a reorganization in Kentucky’s Jefferson District Court.

A majority of the 164 lawyers who responded to the survey disagreed that the reorganization led to positive change, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported in a story last week. Under the changes, judges take on combined dockets when others are absent. But lawyers said combining dockets creates confusion and longer waits.

After reporting on the survey results, the Courier-Journal obtained verbatim responses to the survey. The anonymous statements criticized the judges’ work habits—and their unscheduled vacation. Among the responses:

“Judges miss court without explanation to the bar, they are routinely 10-15 minutes late to court again without explanation. … The term is quickly developing a reputation as self-centered, lazy and unprofessional.”

“I think the judges need to address the fact that MANY have used reorganization as an excuse to leave early. … They expect noon to be their end of the day.”

“District court judges seem to be under the impression that the two days each week that are scheduled for trials/hearings are vacation days. As such, they expect all cases to be finished by noon.”

Judges in Kentucky have no limits on vacation and sick days, the Courier-Journal says. The newspaper quoted District Judge Sean Delahanty. The judges are on the "honor system, I guess," he said.

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