We are pleased to announce that Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Denise Clayton of Louisville will be the subject of the third installment of our "Judicial Focus" series. An interview with Judge Clayton will be featured in the May issue of the Kentucky Appellate Survey Monthly, which will be released in June. Judge Clayton follows Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Mary Noble and Circuit Judge David Tapp, the first two subjects of this new series.
Judge Denise Clayton became the first black woman to serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals in October 2007. She represents the 4th Appellate District, Division 2.
Prior to her appointment and election to the Court of Appeals, Judge Clayton was chief circuit judge for Jefferson County, where she had been a circuit judge for nearly seven years. She was the first black woman to be a Kentucky Circuit Court judge. She was also chief regional circuit judge for the Metro Region for several months before serving on the Court of Appeals. Judge Clayton previously served in Jefferson County as a judge for District Court, Family Court and Drug Court.
Judge Clayton began her legal career as an attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She also worked at the University of Louisville as the director of student legal services and maintained a private practice. She was the Legal Aid Society of Louisville’s associate director before becoming a Jefferson County District Court judge in 1996.
Judge Clayton graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law.
She is the chairwoman for the Chief Justice’s Commission on Racial Fairness for Jefferson County’s courts and is a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Louisville Black Lawyers Association, Women Lawyers Association and Focus Louisville. She is also on the board of directors for Summerbridge, and Norton Hospital Foundation.
Among her awards, Judge Clayton was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Judge Award by the Kentucky Bar Association. Judge Clayton has also received the Public Advocate Award from the state’s Department of Public Advocacy, the Distinguished Alumna Award from Brandeis School of Law, the Alumni Achievement Award from Defiance College, the Community Service Award from the Optimist Club of Louisville, the Louisville Bar Association Justice William E. McAnulty, Jr. Trailblazer Award, the Louisville Chapter NAACP Meritorious Service Award, the “Interesting Personality” Award from Who’s Who in Black Louisville, the Champion for Children Award from Shawnee High School in Louisville.
[Biography Credit: Kentucky Court of Justice.]