LOUISVILLE, KY. If you are looking to keep up with legal issues and happenings in Louisville, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens has three options for you. On Facebook, there is the Judge Olu Stevens page and the Jefferson Circuit Court Division 6 page. On Twitter, there is @judgeolustevens. The Judge Olu Stevens page offers Judge Stevens’ positions of issues of legal significance in the Louisville community. The Jefferson Circuit Court, Division 6 page offers updates on the status of the court docket. This page is update frequently, sometimes multiple times per day. ”We are trying to provided attorneys with up to date information about the status of the court’s docket. My hope is that it will save them time and expense should there be a change in the court’s schedule due to being in trial” said Judge Stevens. If Judge Stevens will be covering another Judge’s court or another Judge will be covering Division 6′s docket because Judge Stevens is in trial. Judge Stevens has become well known for his work on social media and has given two presentations on a judge’s responsibilities in that regard. Earlier this year, Judge Stevens gave a presentation entitled, “Are We Facebook Friends? The Benefits and Perils of a Kentucky Judge’s Use of Social Media”. The presentation was very well received. ”Social media is a mine field for a judge, but I have always believed it to be an important way for me to stay in touch with the other members of the community. I don’t just come around during election time, I have maintained active involvement in the social media community since my appointment four and a half years ago” said Stevens.
LOUISVILLE, KY. Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens convened the Expanded Horizons Project docket on October 30, 2013. Judge Stevens and Attorney Bryan Coomer addressed the participants about the following topics: Excuses, what is important to you, setting goals, prioritizing, building a toolbox and disappointment and failure. The Late Benjamin Mays, former President of Morehouse College (Judge Stevens’ alma mater), once said “excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments to nothingness”. It is one of Judge Stevens’ all-time favorite quotes. ”We are going to have a lot to offer theses young men, but we first must make sure they are ready to receive it” said Judge Stevens. Each participant was given an EHP worksheet to complete and return for at the next docket, scheduled for November 27, 2013. The guest speaker will be DeVone Holt.
The mission of the Expanded Horizons Project is to expose young men to positive figures and influences in the community and assist them in their efforts to become productive members of society.
LOUISVILLE, KY. On November 5, 2013, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens debuted a jury selection procedure that is new to Jefferson County, but used in virtually every other county in the Commonwealth. The jury selection process, known as voir dire (“to tell the truth”), previously employed in Jefferson County questioned an entire panel of 40 or more jurors and selecting the jury after questioning those individuals. In response the Kentucky Supreme Court to be published opinion in the matter of Jimenez v. Kentucky, Judge Stevens employed a jury selection procedure commonly used in other parts of the Commonwealth. The unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court in Jimenez noted that the jury selection procedure employed in Jefferson County “departs from the rules established by [the Kentucky Supreme] Court” and “circumstances may arise in which a defendant could make a showing of prejudice arising from [the Jefferson County] procedures.” Judge Stevens is the first Jefferson Circuit Judge to employ this voir dire process. ”I believe that we should strive to make all court procedures should be in compliance with the letter of the law. Employing this jury selection process is in keeping with that objective” said Judge Stevens. The process requires the Court to seat the number of jurors who will comprise the jury plus the number of peremptory strikes. Questioning is directed to that group only and jurors are to be replaced as each is excused for reasons of hardship or cause. ”I appreciate the guidance of the Kentucky Supreme Court on this issue and found the new process to be efficient” Stevens said. Judge Stevens is still reviewing Division 6′s procedures to ensure complete compliance with the Supreme Court decision, but will likely require all parties to opt-out of the procedure in order to return to the previous voir dire method. Judge Stevens has presided over 88 jury trials since his appointment in July of 2009, more than any other Circuit Judge during that time period.
FRANKFORT, KY. On November 6, 2013, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens traveled to Frankfort, Kentucky to file his paperwork for reelection. Judge Stevens is seeking his second term as the presiding Judge in the 30th Judicial Circuit, Division 6. Judge Stevens was appointed by Governor Steven Beshear on July 1, 2009. In November 2010, Judge Stevens won election to the Jefferson Circuit Court by 40,000+ votes, one of the largest margins of any race on the ballot. He received every major union endorsement, that of Citzens for Better Judges and the Louisville Courier-Journal. Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer chose Judge Stevens to administer his oath of office in January 2011. Since his appointment, Judge Stevens has presided over 88 jury trials and has maintained one of the lowest pending caseloads of any division of Jefferson Circuit Court. In 2012, in addition to his duties as presiding judge in Division 6, Judge Stevens served as an adjunct professor of Criminal Procedure at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. The primary election will take place in May 2014 and the general in November 2014.
On the evening of October 30, 2013, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens spoke to students at Brown Mackie College Louisville about the reasons he formed the new Expanded Horizons Project in Circuit Court, Division 6. He also answered students’ questions concerning the EHP goals. The EHP consists of 15 participants currently under the court’s supervision. It convenes on a monthly basis.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens was recently addressed a group of middle and high school students in the Smoketown area of Louisville. Judge Stevens spoke to the students about prioritizing, set goals, steps in furtherance of those goals and dealing with failure and disappointment, among other things. Attorney James Beckett and Bates Memorial Church invited Judge Stevens to speak to the students.
On September 25, 2013, Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens convened the first Expanded Horizons Project docket in his court. Judge Stevens personally selected 15 young men currently on probation supervision in his court for participation. The EHP will held monthly and focus on a variety of topics designed to assist the participants in becoming productive members of society. Judge Stevens addressed the participants and reviewed the docket rules. Attorney Bryan Coomer, who has assisted Judge Stevens in forming the docket and designating topics for discussion, also spoke to the participants. The next EHP docket will be held on October 30, 2013 at 3 p.m.
On September 6, 2013, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Olu Stevens spoke to the Annual Meeting of the Legal Secretaries International, Inc. Judge Stevens’ speech was entitled, “Are We Facebook Friends? The Benefits and Perils of a Kentucky’s Use of Social Media”. Judge Stevens discussed the applicable ethical obligations to a judge’s use of Facebook and other forms of social media, to include the relevant portions of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Thanks to Theresa Vaughn and Legal Secretaries International for the invitation.