Kentucky child support cases through the system

Child support can be a murky area in legal cases, but one local judge says there’s more to your case than you know.

Some people voiced concerns about how their cases were handled. Calloway and Marshall County Circuit Court Judge Jamie Jameson says he’s following law and protocol. "We are required to follow the law, and I’m particularly dedicated to that," he says. "I’m not an activist judge. If you start acting outside of the law, you’re an activist judge."

He’s referring to House Bill 463, which applies to more than just child support cases. The law deals with how to get people back in court, the incentive to do that — bond — and to keep them out of court after closing the case.

Jameson says if someone has to pay bond, it doesn’t mean they’re admitting guilt. But he says, especially with child support cases, if the bond is too high, it’s even more likely that case will continue to pop up in court: taking court time, money and resources.

The second prong to 463 is that bond is decided through a formula. Jameson says the formula looks at each case and factors in the person’s potential danger, flight risk, and history.

"Am I horribly offended by House Bill 463? Well, I think there’s good and bad," Jameson says. "But I do believe that holding someone in jail when they’re presumed innocent needs to be reserved for situations when there’s a significant flight risk or an injury to others."

Jameson told me the majority of cases he sees are not child support cases. A majority of the cases he handles are drug-related.

Bond is not completely in the hands of the judge. He meets with a team of county and court leaders to help make decisions on bonds, warrants, and summons. Often, they refer back to the formula and its findings.

House Bill 463 was passed in 2011. Jameson says it takes years for a law like this to develop case examples to help practice the law in real life.

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