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Kentucky State Courts

Courts – State Courts – Kentucky

Highest Court

Supreme Court
The Supreme Court consists of 7 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Direct appeals on judgment of death, life imprisonment, or imprisonment for over 20 years. (2) Motions to transfer from Court of Appeals for causes of great and immediate importance. (3) Discretionary review of Court of appeals decisions.

Intermediate Courts

Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals consists of 14 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) Appeals as a matter of right on judgments of the Circuit Court. (2) Review of administrative agency decisions.

General Courts

Circuit Court
The Circuit Court consists of 107 judges. It has jurisdiction over (1) All justifiable causes not vested in some other court. (2) Civil actions over $4,000. (3) Original criminal.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Limited Courts

District Court
The District Court has jurisdiction over (1) Exclusive jurisdiction in civil cases involving $4,000 or less, provided the case does not involve equity or title to real estate. Uncontested probate matters within the exclusive jurisdiction of the District Court. (2) Exclusive jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases except where the charge is joined with an indictment for a felony, ordinance violations and preliminary hearings. (3) Juvenile matters. (4) Authorized to adjudicate local administrative cases.
No jury trials are overseen by this court.

Small Claims Division
The Small Claims Division has jurisdiction over Small claims under $1,500.

Additional Information

Enforcement of mandates.
Mandates of the Supreme Court maybe enforced by fine or imprisonment, or both. (Kentucky Revised Statutes  21A.040)

Reversal or modification of judgments — Procedures for appeal.
If an error appears in a record of a judgment, order, or decree from a lower court, it may be reversed, modified or set aside by the Supreme Court.
Concerning an appeal of a lower court, the methods shall be established by Supreme Court rule.  The procedures for appellate review shall be established by the Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Criminal Procedure and other rules promulgated by the Supreme Court. (Kentucky Revised Statutes  21A.050)

Publication of opinions.
All opinions of the Supreme Court shall be published.  Publication of the opinions of the Court of Appeals and the lower courts shall be decided by the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court shall decide the method of publication and the publisher(s) of the opinions of the Court of Justice.  The opinions of these courts shall not be copyrighted.  (Kentucky Revised Statutes  21A.070)

Records to be property of Court of Justice — Supreme Court control.
All and any records (as defined in KRS 171.410[1]) made by, created for, or received by any agency of the Court of Justice or any agency, court, or officer responsible to such court shall become property of the Court of Justice and subjected to the control of the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court shall determine which records were generated, made, or received by or for any court. (Kentucky Revised Statutes  26A.200)

Automatic exemptions prohibited.
There shall be no automatic exemptions from jury service. (Kentucky Revised Statutes  29A.090)

Foreman of grand jury — Oath to witnesses.
The foreman shall be elected by his/her fellow grand jurors.  The foreman shall administer an oath to each witness who testifies before the grand jury:   “Do you swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing
but the truth?”
(Kentucky Revised Statutes  29A.250)

Department of Public Advocacy — Establishment — Functions — Independent agency.
The Department of Public Advocacy is established as an independent agency of Kentucky’s state government, though for administrative purposes is in conjunction to the Public Protection and Regulation Cabinet.  The Department of Public Advocacy was created to to provide the establishment, maintenance, and operation  for the representation of indigent persons accused of crimes or mental states which may result in their incarceration or confinement and to insure the legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies of persons with disabilities.  (For the purposes of this chapter, “persons with disabilities” shall refer to those persons eligible for protection and advocacy services under Public Laws 99-319, 102-569, 103-218, 106-170, and 106-402 as amended and any other federal enabling statute hereafter enacted that defines the eligible client base for protection and advocacy services.)
(Kentucky Revised Statutes  31.010)

Inside Kentucky State Courts