FRANKFORT, Ky., Dec. 7, 2017 – District Court Judge Jeffrey Scott Lawless, who serves Pulaski and Rockcastle counties, was recently named the 2017 recipient of the Judge Robert W. Heaton Award for his judicial leadership, his contributions to the judiciary and the commonwealth, and his enduring friendships with fellow judges. The Kentucky District Judges Association presented the award to Judge Lawless at the Kentucky District Judges College in September.
“It was my honor to present Judge Lawless with the Heaton award,” said Jefferson District Court Judge David P. Bowles, who is chairman of the KDJA’s Judge Robert W. Heaton Award Committee. “He is easily accessible to judges across the commonwealth and prompt in responding to ethics inquiries as a member of the Judicial Ethics Committee. His smile and personality are infectious.”
Judge Lawless said he was humbled to be honored with the award from his fellow district judges.
“When this award was created several years ago, I told my colleagues that it represented a benchmark for our judges,” Judge Lawless said. “We expect our judges to be scholars of the law. We want them to be mentors to other judges and lawyers, and we want them to be active in our communities. I think the fact that we present this award says even more about the judiciary than it says about the recipient.”
District Court Judge Louis K. Myers, who serves Ballard and Carlisle counties, nominated Judge Lawless for the award.
The KDJA presents the Judge Robert W. Heaton Award annually to an elected or retired District Court judge who has demonstrated judicial leadership, contributed to the commonwealth through volunteering with civic organizations, promoted the image of the judiciary and the legal profession, and has a reputation for integrity, mentorship, scholarship and professionalism. The recipient has enduring friendships with colleagues. The award is named for Nelson County District Court Judge Robert W. Heaton, who passed away suddenly in 2012 while serving as KDJA president.
Judge Lawless has served as the chief district judge for the 28th Judicial District of Pulaski and Rockcastle counties since 2005, when he was appointed as a district judge by Gov. Ernie Fletcher. He was subsequently elected to the bench for three full terms. He is also the chief regional district judge for the Cumberland Region. Chief regional judges supervise the administrative business of the courts in their region, which includes assigning special judges in cases of conflicts or vacancies and providing general direction to the nonjudicial personnel assigned to those courts. He serves as the District Court member of the Judicial Ethics Committee.
Prior to becoming a judge, Judge Lawless was an assistant county attorney and practiced law in Somerset. He is a frequent speaker on the judiciary and has served with the United Way of South Central Kentucky, Operation HOPE, The Moore Complex and the South Central Kentucky Foundation for Families and Children. He has coached various youth teams and activities and is a Scout leader. He is an award-winning biscuit chef, having received the blue ribbon and red ribbon for baking powder biscuits and buttermilk biscuits at the Kentucky State Fair in 2002.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of nearly 3,400 court system employees and 404 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.