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Daviess Co. Family Court appoints stand-in judges to hear cases

Two retired judges filling in to help with caseload after Owensboro judge’s recent suspension
Daviess Co. Family Court appoints stand-in judges to hear cases
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 7:12 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Three judges are splitting up the Daviess County Family Court docket following the suspension of Judge Julie Hawes Gordon.

Judge Gordon was agreed to a suspension last week.

[PREVIOUS: Kentucky judge facing abuse of power accusations agrees to temporary suspension]

She is accused of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, among other accusations.

To help carry the workload, two retired judges are hearing cases in Daviess County Family Court.

Brothers Joe and Tom Castlen both served as circuit court judges in Daviess County.

Since their retirements, both have served in a stand-in role — filling in for judges who are sick, on leave, or in this case, suspended.

Tom Castlen says it’s important to continue hearing family court cases without interruption, even with Gordon’s suspension.

“Those issues don’t stop arising simply because there isn’t a judge here to look at them,” Tom said.

The two brothers have divided up the docket with District Court Judge David Payne, who has been helping out with Daviess County Family Court since July.

“We don’t divide up the workload per case so much as by the kind of docket, and it turned out to be about even,” Joe said.

Payne says the chief justice appointed him to help hear family court cases due to the rising caseload.

Tom and Joe Castlen have worked together before in their career, and it is something the brothers do enjoy.

“I enjoy it quite a bit,” Joe said. “It’s good to be around your siblings I guess, and we have a good time.”

“We’ve been really fortunate in our lives that our professional paths have crossed quite a bit, and it’s really gratifying,” Tom said.

The three judges have planned out their division of labor through January.

They have not received word yet on how long they will be filling in for Gordon, who does not yet have a hearing scheduled.

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