Earlier today, I attended the Family Law Section Meeting of the Louisville Bar Association. Jefferson Circuit Court, Family Division, Chief Judge Paula Sherlock was our first speaker. The topic was making our courthouse safe for families.
I am at a Courthouse almost every day. Most of that time is spent in Family Court with a client going through a divorce or seeking custody of their child or children. It is difficult to describe how tense the Courthouse is for families who are waiting for a Judge on what is perhaps the worst day of their life. That tension can spill over to violence. Adults fight. Children are subject to corporal punishment. Basically, people can lose their sense of restraint and act out on their worst impulses.
Judge Spainhour tells the story of her Domestic Violence docket in Bullitt County yesterday. In the Courtroom, a litigant struck another. Not a very persuasive defense to Domestic Violence, but it does serve to illustrate how unmoored people can become in the Courthouse.
All of this is to say that in the coming month, I believe that Family Court in Louisville will announce a really worthwhile project in conjunction with Kosair Children’s Hospital, UL Pediatrics Group and the American Academy of Pediatrics. I hope it will make families and children safer as well as make people in crisis think twice. Also, I hope you will pony up when I ask you to contribute.