Speciality Courts

The Department of Specialty Courts oversees the Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Treatment Court programs. Collectively referred to as Specialty Courts, these programs are similarly structured and supervised and have the same goal – to give participants the opportunity to overcome substance use disorder and make a positive change in their lives.

All the programs provide oversight by a judge along with case management, treatment and drug testing.

Specialty Courts help individuals charged with nonviolent felony and misdemeanor offenses who are eligible for diversion and/or probation and are identified by screening tools as being high risk and high need.

The foundation of a successful Specialty Court program is its multidisciplinary team. The judge leads a team of Specialty Court staff, defense attorneys, prosecutors, treatment providers and law enforcement officers. Specialty Court staff create case management plans for participants and monitor their progress. Judges volunteer their time to serve Specialty Court programs.

Specialty Courts operate as part of the Administrative Office of the Courts, which pays for treatment, drug testing and case management. There is no cost to participants.

These programs offer substantial benefits to individuals and society by reducing recidivism, cutting incarceration costs, decreasing medical costs, and improving child support and tax revenue as participants gain employment. In addition, the devastating cycle of generational criminal behavior and addiction is broken as participants become healthy, productive members of their communities.​

Department of Specialty Courts Directory
County Type
(District/Circuit/Combo)
Track
(DC, VTC, MHC)
Presiding Judge(s)
Region 1
Hickman/Fulton Combo DC Judge Hunter Whitesell
Graves Circuit DC Judge Kevin Bishop
56th Judical Circuit DC Judge Natalie White
Christian Circuit DC Judge Andrew Self and Judge John Atkins
Christian Combo VTC Judge Foster Cotthoff
Hopkins Circuit DC Judge David Massamore
Calloway Circuit DC Judge James Jamison
Marshall Circuit DC Judge James Jamison
Region 2
Allen Circuit DC Judge Mark Thurmond
Barren Circuit DC Judge John Alexander
Breckenridge Circuit DC Judge Bruce Butler/ Judge Kenneth Goff
Butler Circuit DC Judge Tim Coleman
Crittenden/Union/Crittenden               Combo Combo DC Judge Rene Williams
Daviess Circuit DC Judge Lisa Jones
Edmonson Circuit DC Judge Tim Coleman
Grayson Circuit DC Judge Bruce Butler/ Judge Kenneth Goff
Hart, Nelson, Larue Circuit DC Judge Charles Simms
Hancock District DC Judge John McCarty
Henderson Combo DC Judge Karen Wilson
Meade Circuit DC Judge Bruce Butler/ Judge Kenneth Goff
Muhlenberg/McLean Circuit DC Judge Brian Wiggins
Ohio District DC Judge John McCarty
Warren Circuit DC Judge John Grise
Region 3
Allen Circuit DC Judge Mark Thurmond
Simpson Circuit DC Judge Mark Thurmond
Barren/Metcalfe Circuit DC Judge John Alexander
Warren Circuit DC Judge John Grise
Adair Combo DC Judge Judy Vance-Murphy
Casey Combo DC Judge Judy Vance-Murphy
Clay, Jackson, Leslie Circuit Recovery Ct Judge Clint Harris
Clinton Circuit DC Judge Kristi Castillo
Cumberland Circuit DC Judge Kristi Castillo
Monroe Circuit DC Judge Kristi Castillo
Logan Circuit DC Judge Joe Hendricks
Todd Circuit DC Judge Joe Hendricks
Region 4
Taylor/Green/Marion/washington District DC Judge Amy Anderson
Hardin Circuit DC Judge Kelly Mark Easton
Hardin Circuit DC & MHC Judge John Simcoe
Hardin VTC District VTC & DC Judge Kimberly Shumate
Hardin MHC Circuit MHC Judge John Simcoe
Hardin MHC Circuit MHC Judge Kelly Mark Easton
Region 5
Jefferson Circuit DC Judge Ann Bailey-Smith
Jefferson Combo DC Judge Stephanie Burke
Jefferson Circuit VTC Judge Mitch Perry
Jefferson Circuit DC Judge Eric Haner
Jefferson Circuit Recovery Ct Denise Brown, Angela Johnson, Lauren Ogden, Derwinn Webb
Jefferson Circuit DC Judge Mary Shaw
Franklin Circuit DC Judge Phillip Shepherd/Thomas Wingate
Owen Combo DC Judge R.Leslie Knight
Region 6
Boone Circuit DC Judge James Schrand
Boone Circuit MHC Judge Richard Brueggemann
Boone Combo VTC Judge Jeff Smith
Campbell Combo DC Judge Karen Thomas & Judge Cameron Blau
Campbell Combo VTC Judge Cameron Blau
Carrol, Grant, Owen Circuit DC Judge Leslie Knight
Harrison District DC Judge Charles Kuster
Harrison Circuit DC Judge Jay Delaney
Kenton Circuit DC Judge Patricia Summe
Kenton Combo VTC Judge Anne Ruttle
Kenton Circuit Recovery Ct Judge Christopher Mehling and Judge Acena Beck
Kenton Circuit MHC Judge Kathy Lape
Mason Circuit DC Judge Stockton Wood
Oldham, Henry and Trimble Circuit DC Judge Jerry Crosby
Pendleton District DC Judge Charles Kuster
Pendleton Circuit DC Judge Jay Delaney
Scott District DC Judge Sarah Hays
Scott Circuit DC Judge Katie Gabhart
Shelby, Spencer, Anderson Circuit DC Judge Charles Hickman
Region 7
Boyle/Mercer TBD DC Judge Jeff Dotson
Clark District DC Judge Robert Jennings
Clark Circuit DC Judge Cole Maier
Fayette District DC Judge Lindsay Hughes-Thurston
Fayette Circuit DC Judge Tracy Brislin
Fayette Circuit VTC Judge Thomas Travis
Fayette Circuit DC Judge Libby Messer
Fayette Circuit DC Judge Kimberly Bunnell
Garrard Combo DC Judge Janet Booth
Jessamine Combo DC Judge Janet Booth
Madison District DC Judge Charles Hardin
Madison Circuit DC Judge Brandy Brown
Region 8
Bell District DC Judge Robert Yoakum
Bell Circuit DC Judge Robert Costanzo
Harlan District DC Judge Scott Lisenbee
Harlan Circuit DC Judge Kent Hendrickson
Knox District DC Judge John Chappell Jan-July and Judge Wendall Hammons Aug-Dec
Laurel/Knox Circuit DC Judge Gregory Lay
Lincoln/Rockcastle Combo DC Judge Marcus Vanover and Judge Teresa Whitaker
Pulaski Combo DC Judge Marcus Vanover and Judge Teresa Whitaker
Wayne Circuit DC Judge Vernon Miniard
Russell Circuit DC Judge Vernon Miniard
McCreary Circuit DC Judge Paul Winchester
Whitley Circuit DC Judge Paul Winchester
Region 9
Breathitt Circuit DC Judge Lisa Whisman
Powell Circuit DC Judge Lisa Whisman
Wolfe Circuit DC Judge Lisa Whisman
Clay Circuit DC Judge Oscar House
Jackson Circuit DC Judge Oscar House
Leslie Circuit DC Judge Henria-Bailey Lewis
Floyd Circuit DC Judge Tom Smith/Judge Johnny Ray Harris
Floyd District DC Judge Eric Hall
Floyd VTC VTC Judge Jimmy Marcum
Knott Circuit DC Judge Kim Childers
Magoffin Circuit DC Judge Kim Childers
Lee/Owsley Circuit DC Judge Michael Dean
Estill Circuit DC Judge Michael Dean
Letcher Circuit DC Judge Jimmy Craft
Perry Circuit DC & Recovery Ct Judge Alison Wells
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