Candidate: Circuit Family Court; Circuit 55, Division 3
Official Website: www.Vote4Monica.com
Official Facebook: Monica Meredith for Family 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.
I believe that every single one of us has an ‘ah ha’ moment where they believe they could have done anything a little differently. What I have learned from life is that these thoughts
do not necessarily mean that the outcome would have been any different. I have learned to trust my initial thoughts, to recognize when those thoughts are/were inaccurate, and to adjust accordingly. I think that’s the most any of us can hope for.
2. Give an example of a circumstance where you faced an ethical dilemma or problem and explain how you solved it.
Anytime I believed I have faced an ethical dilemma relating to a legal matter, I consulted the Ethics Hotline provided by the Ky Bar Association and requested a written opinion. When needed, I provided the written opinion to opposing counsel and the Court if requested.
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?
On my website I have an article titled “What We Need in a Family Court Judge.” I believe this article details the characteristics I feel are necessary to be an effective Family Court Judge. As for my personal background, life experiences etc.: Over the course of my 22 years practicing law, I have handled many different kinds of cases in very different courtrooms and legal environments, both at the federal and state level. I have represented thousands of individuals and businesses, moms and dads, children and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the list goes on. One thing I can say for sure is that family court matters are unique. Divorce, separation, domestic violence, and parental responsibility cases all involve some of the most intimate and emotional aspects of an individual’s personal lives. When you accompany these types of cases with the demands of maintaining a court docket, family law matters can be some of the most intricate and complicated cases to resolve.
Family Court Judges must act with fairness and impartiality to all parties involved. Above all else, the Judge must follow the law. In order to uphold these principles, many family court issues require a judge to be familiar with more than family law statutes and case law.
In today’s world, a Judge needs to be familiar with issues involving bankruptcy, criminal and civil law, taxes, contracts, estate planning and international treaties. The Judge also needs to be familiar with social work practices and dispute resolution alternatives. In a nutshell, it is my belief that a Family Court Judge needs to be a PROBLEM SOLVER and an
4. As a potential judge, what do you consider to be your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
I believe I bring the broadest experience to this office. I have worked in both federal and state court, on issues affecting all families. I also understand the role of the representation of abused and neglected children in the Family Court process—as I have twice been named the attorney for the child (guardian ad litem), 2006 & 2010, of the year by our local CASA volunteers.
5. What or who are the major influences in your life and why?
The major influences in my life, personal and professional, have been my parents. Both of my parents come from hard working, rural American households. My father was an only child of a school teacher and electrician. He grew up on a dairy farm in Edmonson County, KY. My mother was raised by a single parent with two other sisters on her grandfather’s farm in Grayson County, KY. My grandmother retired from the State where she worked as a toll booth operator and spent many years as a commercial seamstress.
My parents have been married for 53 years. My father is a retired CSX Engineer and served in the Marine Corp during Vietnam. My mother is a retired Registered Nurse and school teacher. The work ethic, loyalty, and genuine caring about the other man that I possess comes from the both of them. I watched as a young child both of my parents work full time jobs; my mother graduate from college; my dad coach youth league sports that my brother and I participated in. Never once complaining, but rather, teaching that every family struggles and makes sacrifices for one another and expecting that their children will grow
up and do the same.
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?
As a former prosecutor, I have witnessed events in a courtroom where it was clear, in my opinion, that decisions were made based on facts not in evidence. These decisions directly affected the individual lives of the litigants involved. If elected Judge, I will make every effort to make decisions based on the evidence before the Court in conjunction with the current law in the Commonwealth. A Judge must ensure that all court rules are complied with and that no party has an unfair advantage.
7. Who are your judicial role models and why?
I do not believe it ethical to comment on a specific sitting Judge. And I do not wish to refer to former Judges, even if they have passed or that I have never practiced in front of them, due to the fact that it could give a false impression of views that others may deem I personally hold.
8. Describe a circumstance where you took a difficult or controversial position and how you handled it.
I have handled many such circumstances during my legal career and do not believe it is appropriate to express my position on any particular area or position.
9. How would you describe your general judicial philosophy?
I will be fair and impartial, open-minded, and focused on treating everyone equally and fairly while following the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
10. What are some of the most significant challenges facing Kentucky's judicial system and how do you propose to address them?
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the current judicial system in the influx of drugs into our homes and families. Bullitt County has independently sought resources to establish and operate a family court drug program for years. It is called Families Moving Beyond Abuse. The state does not fund this program. I would love to see the State shift resources to drug courts, as they are desperately needed. I have worked with our current FMBA program as a family court attorney, as a guardian ad litem, and as the former County Attorney. I believe I possess an excellent understanding of the current process and system and could help to support and perhaps, expand, our current program.