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There are five kinds of courts in Kentucky:

  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeals
  • Circuit Court 
  • Family Court
  • District Court

A Circuit Court judge presides over criminal and civil cases.

The criminal cases on a Circuit Court docket include capital offenses and felonies.

Civil cases include lawsuits where the dispute is valued at more than $5000.  Circuit judges also hear real property title disputes and contested probate matters.  Some examples of Circuit Court civil matters are personal injury, medical malpractice, and foreclosure cases.

Finally, Circuit Court judges also hear appeals from District Court and administrative agencies.

In Kentucky, there are 57 circuits – some circuits cover only one county, other circuits serve up to four counties, depending on population size.  In the 30th Circuit — serving all of Jefferson County — there are thirteen (13) Circuit Court judges.

In Kentucky, judges are elected, rather than appointed.  Judicial campaigns are non-partisan. Circuit judges serve eight-year terms.