Photo cutline: Court of Appeals Judge Stumbo displays the plaque presented to her by Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer (left) to recognize her 26 years of service to Kentucky’s appellate courts.
FRANKFORT, Ky., Dec. 22, 2017 – Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Janet L. Stumbo, who serves 22 counties in Eastern Kentucky, was honored by the chief justice, her fellow Court of Appeals judges, court system employees and others at a retirement reception Dec. 14 at the Court of Appeals building in Frankfort.
“On behalf of the entire court system, what can I say except thank you for your years of service and the way you have cared about your cases and the people who were those cases,” Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr. said.
Judge Stumbo, a native of Floyd County, will retire Dec. 31 after 26 years of service to Kentucky’s appellate courts.
Court of Appeals Chief Judge Joy A. Kramer presented Judge Stumbo with a plaque recognizing her years of service and a gift from the Court of Appeals judges, an artist’s rendering of the Floyd County Courthouse of the 1950s.
Judge Stumbo said it had been a privilege to serve the commonwealth and be a member of the judiciary, and she thanked the court system staff she’s worked with over the years.
“I couldn’t have done it without my support staff, my colleagues on the court, and personal and professional friendships,” she said. “I can’t express how much it meant to me to feel I made a difference to our state’s jurisprudence.”
Judge Stumbo was the second woman ever elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the first woman from the 7th Appellate District. She was the first woman elected to the Supreme Court of Kentucky without having first been appointed.
She was first elected to the Court of Appeals in 1989 and to the Supreme Court in 1993. She was re-elected to the Supreme Court in 1996. While a Supreme Court justice, Judge Stumbo headed a pilot program to create Family Courts across the commonwealth. After finishing her term on the Supreme Court and taking a short break from the bench, Judge Stumbo was elected to the Court of Appeals for a second time in 2006. She was re-elected for another term in 2014.
Judge Stumbo is a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Kentucky College of Law and at Morehead State University. Among the honors she has received during her career are the Women Lawyers of Achievement Award from the Kentucky Bar Association for Women and the Bull’s Eye Award from the Women in State Government Network. The Kentucky Women Advocates awarded her with its Outstanding Justice Award for her support of adopting gender fairness into state judicial language and its Justice Award for her use of spousal abuse evidence as grounds for setting aside settlements in divorce cases and for her support in creating a shelter for abused women in Floyd County.
Judge Stumbo serves the counties of Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Floyd, Greenup, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Powell, Rowan and Wolfe.
Court of Appeals
Nearly all cases heard by the Kentucky Court of Appeals come to it on appeal from a lower court. If a case is tried in Circuit Court or District Court and the losing parties involved are not satisfied with the outcome, they may ask for a higher court to review the correctness of the trial court’s decision. Some cases, such as criminal case acquittals and divorces, may not be appealed. In a divorce case, however, child custody and property rights decisions may be appealed. Cases are not retried in the Court of Appeals. Only the record of the original court trial is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the court for a decision.
Fourteen judges, two elected from seven appellate court districts, serve on the Court of Appeals. The judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority determining the decision. The panels do not sit permanently in one location, but travel throughout the state to hear cases.
Court of Appeals judges serve eight-year terms.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort is the operations arm for the state court system. The AOC 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.