Chief justice of Kentucky urges pay raise for judges

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's chief justice says state lawmakers should give judges a raise and should offer incentives to drug offenders to use the state's drug court treatment program.

Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. told lawmakers in his annual State of the Judiciary address that Kentucky judges earn 17.5 percent less than the national average. The state's publicly elected judges have not had a raise since 2008. Minton said low salaries are hindering the court's ability to attract top quality lawyers to the bench.

And Minton said budget cuts and changes in Kentucky's criminal sentencing laws have resulted in fewer people choosing to use the state's drug court treatment program. He said if lawmakers would offer drug court graduates a well-structured process for clearing the charge from their records, it would encourage more people to use the program.

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