Panel Formed To Improve Legal Aid For Low Income Kentuckians

Improving ways to deliver legal aid to low-income citizens for adoptions, divorces and other civil matters is the goal behind creation of the Kentucky Access to Justice Commission.

Retired Franklin Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden chairs the 25-member panel, which starts work in late January.

“I call it expanding our comfort zones, in the future. Expanding the comfort zones of the judiciary to deal with indigents or deal with pro se people – people who are not represented by counsel. Expanding the comfort zones maybe of the legal aid people, to take in areas that they haven’t taken before,” he said.

Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton ordered creation of the panel, which is similar to commissions in at least 24 other states. Minton says the need is evident, because Kentucky is seeing an explosion of people showing up in court without legal representation.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.