My name is Kristina Garvey and I am running for Jefferson County District Court Judge, Division 3. I’ve been a lifelong resident of Kentucky and I am proud to call it home. This incredible community has not only shaped me into the person I am today, but it is also a big reason I have such high hopes for the future.
I’ve had the opportunity to serve this community in many different roles. Before going to law school, I spent four years teaching grades kindergarten through eighth grade at a local elementary school. I have coached children of all ages in our community and been involved in youth and high school sports. During law school, I spent two years clerking for the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office on both the civil and criminal sides of the law. Since passing the bar, I have served as a prosecutor with the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office in both our general criminal division and our domestic violence unit.
I am running for District Court Judge because I want to serve Jefferson County and have the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community and in people’s lives. I am passionate about my profession and the justice system. I have handled thousands of District Court cases and have gained the experience needed to make an immediate impact on the bench and a positive impact on our court system. As an attorney I have been fair, honest and ethical, all qualities I will bring to the bench. I treat everyone with respect and work hard for just resolutions.
I believe my diverse professional background provides me with great prospective to bring to the bench. I’ve worked with people of all ages, I’ve been in leadership positions and positions to effect change. I have the right temperament, judicious knowledge and strong work ethic to make a great Judge. I will always look to make the right decision for each situation and to make those decisions while being fair, following the law and keeping our community safe. In situations when I find myself in unfamiliar territory, I will do the research and educate myself. We have great people working in our courts and there is always opportunity to learn and grow from those around you and I will continue to do that as a Judge.
Our community deserves judges with strong character who will work hard both on and off the bench. Jefferson County needs judges who are honest and will serve with fairness and integrity; that is why I am running for District Court Judge.
1. In your career, have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and wished you had handled a case or legal issue differently? Describe the situation and any lessons you learned from the experience.
Yes, there have been situations when a decision I made has weighed on my mind long after I made it. Typically, the ones that weigh heaviest on my mind all have to do with the safety of victims. I work hard to learn as much as I can about the circumstances surrounding my cases and the history of those involved, in and out of the courtroom.
2. Give an example of a circumstance where you faced an ethical dilemma or problem and explain how you solved it.
Ethical dilemmas come up often in the legal profession. We are guided by a code of conduct and the rules of professional responsibility and I take those very seriously. Any situation I have encountered involving ethical dilemmas, I have resolved in a way that not only follows that code and my professional responsibility, but also by making the most educated decisions I can that I also believe to be the right decisions.
3. What do you believe are the most important qualities of a judge, and how has your professional background and life experience helped you develop those qualities?
I believe the most important qualities of a judge are the ability to be fair, honest, and to follow the law. I also think someone with an even temperament who treats everyone with respect, is important for the bench. Those same qualities have been important in my role as a teacher, coach and attorney and will help me serve our community as a judge with the same integrity and qualities I have exhibited throughout my professional background.
4. As a potential judge, what do you consider to be your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
My greatest strengths would be my temperament, knowledge, work ethic and common sense. My greatest weakness will be my limited experience in civil courts. However, I am willing to admit when I don't know something and do the research to make the right, educated decision.
5. What or who are the major influences in your life and why?
My family and friends are the major influences in my life. Our family spends a lot of time together and they provide me with support and encouragement in all that I do as well as different perspectives. My friends come from all walks of life and are a diverse group that I not only feel blessed to have, but I learn from them everyday.
6. Have you witnessed any particular injustices inside or outside the courtroom and how did you respond to those circumstances? How will you respond to similar circumstances as a judge?
I have seen injustices in our courts and have always worked to correct them. Everyone working in the legal field is human and there are times that mistakes are made. Mistakes can be made by anyone, at any point in the process. It takes guts to admit you were wrong or to stand up when you see mistakes or injustices by others. I will always work to correct injustices, as a person, as a prosecutor and I would do the same as a judge. I am also humble enough to admit when I am wrong.
7. Who are your judicial role models and why?
My dad would be my judicial role model. He has been a judge my entire life and I have learned so much from him, both as a person and a judge. He has always taught me to treat everyone you meet with respect, stand up for what I believe in and to always work hard and with purpose. As a judge, he was honest, fair, held people accountable, worked hard and always made the decision he believed to be right.
8. Describe a circumstance where you took a difficult or controversial position and how you handled it.
I take difficult positions in court each week. Often times these positions involve victim safety and sometimes not even the victim is on my side. I take these positions and stand by them because I believe they are right and necessary.
9. How would you describe your general judicial philosophy?
My judicial philosophy would be to hold people accountable while also looking to rehabilitate. I think people should be held accountable for their actions, but I also believe that we will be a better community when we work to help those coming through our courts with some of the issues that are bringing them there.
10. What are some of the most significant challenges facing Kentucky's judicial system and how do you propose to address them?
I think some of the most significant challenges facing our judicial system are the opioid crisis and gun violence. These issues have also lead to high numbers of incarceration. We have created specialty courts to address some of these issues, but we have to do more. We have to find more treatment options to address issues such as addiction or mental health before the jail becomes a revolving door for these individuals.