Courtroom fairness focus of judge’s speech

By Courtney Thomas

The first black woman appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals will discuss racial fairness in Kentucky courtrooms at UK on Wednesday.

Denise Clayton, a Circuit Court of Appeals judge in the 4th Appelate district, division 2, will present “Racial Fairness Commission – What is fair, what is just?” at noon in the College of Law courtroom.

During the event, which is sponsored by the UK Libraries and the College of Law, Clayton will discuss bail, sentencing and jury selection and how it relates to ethnological issues surrounding the judiciary process.

She will also outline the work of the Racial Fairness Commission, created in 2001 by Joseph E. Lambert, then-chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court. The commission examines racial fairness in Jefferson County’s courts after members of the black community complained about fairness, according to the Kentucky Court of Justice Web site.

The result of her presentation will benefit students of many disciplines, said Reinette Jones, the event’s coordinator.

“All people in Kentucky are affected by the court systems,” Jones said. “Students need to care about issues like this because the whole reason for being in college is to become better people and to help better our community.”

The lecture should be a good way for students to learn, said Louise Everett Graham, the interim dean of the College of Law.

“Our responsibility is to give our students an opportunity to explore issues like racial fairness and demonstrate issues by inviting speakers to campus,” Graham said.

Following the presentation, those in attendance will have a chance to ask Clayton questions in the reception hall of the College of Law building.