Larry Roberts
Fayette County Attorney

201 East Main Street
Suite 600
Lexington, KY 40507

Phone:
(859) 254-4941

HOME     OVERVIEW     ATTORNEYS     DRIVER EDUCATION     VICTIM ADVOCATES    OUTREACH     FAQs     CONTACT US    EN ESPANOL     LOGIN

Community Outreach

The attorneys and staff of the County Attorney’s office are constantly engaged in community service outside their normal duties of the office. We actively participate in fund-raising efforts like Race For The Cure, Domestic Violence Prevention, and high school and college intern programs.

PROGRAMS WHICH ARE ONGOING:

SPECIAL ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS (SAUSAS)SAUSA
In 2007, U.S. Attorney, Amul Thapar, initiated a program which allowed our office to appoint two assistant county attorneys to serve a dual role as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. The primary intent of these newly created positions was to assist U.S. attorneys in the prosecution of Internet child exploitation. Our office joined the federal prosecutors in attacking this insidious problem in our community by active prosecution and prevention efforts through education. One of our prosecutors, Lindsay Hughes, was later hired as an Assistant United States Attorney. This innovative program has continued with the consent of Kerry Harvey, the present United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. To date, seven of our assistant prosecutors have participated in this unique program, with each of them receiving invaluable experience in case preparation and the prosecution of numerous types of federal crimes.

SPECIAL PROSECUTIONS
Because of severe budget restraints in state government over the past six years, elected prosecutors have been unable to hire new attorneys to cover the increasing duties of their offices. This is a significant problem for Gordy Shaw, who serves as Commonwealth's Attorney in Woodford, Scott and Bourbon counties. The commonwealth attorney prosecutes serious felony cases and Mr. Shaw has welcomed occasional assistance from our office by our assistant county attorneys who handle some of their cases on the crowded dockets.

An assistant county attorney is normally restricted to the district court, which largely involves misdemeanor crimes and traffic violations. By receiving special prosecutors' appointments from the state, we are able to assist in felony trials. This has been a terrific experience for each of the fifteen assistants who have participated and is a welcomed aid to Mr. Shaw.

This is exciting work for our attorneys and is extremely important for each of their résumés.

CHILD SUPPORT SPECIALTY COURT
The collection of child support has always been a difficult problem for prosecutors throughout the United States. The only "teeth" the courts have for getting many fathers to adequately support their children is the threat of and actually imposing jail sentences. Then the noncustodial parent builds up an extensive arrearage of the child support debt, the ultimate penalty has universally been charging him/her with the felony offense of flagrant nonsupport.

This criminal sanction carries a severe ramification on the offender long after the service of time in prison or even the lesser sanction of probation. Now the individual has a criminal record and the chances of obtaining meaningful employment is drastically reduced. The tentacles of suffering after this, reaches the child, the mother, and the state. Trying to collect current payment obligations and past arrearage is like trying to dig through an iceberg with a child's sandbox shovel. In Lexington, we have over 5,000 people who owe over $5,000 in arrearage. The amount is staggering.

In 2011, our office started a new program to attack this problem from a different perspective. District Judge Bruce Bell consented to serve as Judge for the newly created Child Support Specialty Court. When our office charges an individual with a felony nonsupport charge, they get the option of having their case heard by the Grand Jury and facing the resulting criminal conviction or having his case monitored by Judge Bell. The choice is easy for most individuals.

By choosing to take his "chance" in the Specialty court, each person is closely evaluated for drug/alcohol dependence, education, employment skills, and parenting history. Our office provides three employees to supervise each individual, and we closely monitor each of these categories.

In the last two years, we have contacted 100 businesses which have agreed to hire convicted felons. Through our office, over 36 individuals have obtained employment and since the creation of Judge Bell's court, the participants have paid $103,000 into their child support obligations.

If the accused does not have regular and meaningful contact with their child, the Judge requires him/her to attend 16 weeks of parenting classes, which this office provides with a highly qualified employee with a social work degree.

Every week, Judge Bell monitors the progress or lack thereof of each defendant, and it becomes quickly apparent to every individual that we are taking a special interest in their progress.

There are similar programs like this across the country with one major exception. In our program, the individual who successful complies with the programs in his/her life that we monitor and who is able to hold a steady job and make substantial headway on the arrearage receives a dismissal of the felony charge, and THE RECORD IS EXPUNGED.

My goal for this office is to gradually expand this program to include more defendants and more judges or a full-time judge to handle the caseload.

GANG ENFORCEMENT
I
n December of 2009 the Fayette County Attorney’s Office initiated a Gang Enforcement Program aimed at identifying and prosecuting known criminal gang members. The program’s purpose was to partner with the Lexington Police Department, Fayette County Detention Facility and the Fayette County Public Schools.

The program has been so successful that our office has decided to extend and expand it in the coming years despite the discontinuation of a federal grant which provided salary for a gang enforcement specialist. In addition to the enforcement component of the endeavor, there have been several projects borne out of the original intent that greatly enhance our community’s safety and quality of life. The following is a short summary of those programs. If you would like more detailed information please contact Greg Howard, Gang Enforcement Specialist.

The Youth Challenge/Raising the Bar Camps
The Fayette County Attorney’s Office in partnership with Fayette County Public Schools, the Bluegrass Christian Camp and the Lexington Police Department sponsor outdoor camps for kids four times a year. One camp is offered in the fall, two one-day camps in the winter, and a longer camp in the spring. These camps are designed to offer students the opportunity to experience the outdoors while learning life lessons from police officers, attorneys, camp counselors, former gang members and school personnel.

Booker T Washington Academy Mentoring Program
The Fayette County Attorney’s Office partners with Booker T Washington Academy to provide mentors for third, fourth and fifth grade boys and girls. The goal is for these mentors to meet weekly with their individual students to provide academic support, encouragement and an opportunity to engage with a caring, concerned adult.

High School and Middle School Program
This program is designed to develop decision-making skills, build character and integrity in students while improving social skills and promote increased academic achievement. This middle/high school initiative is a partnership between the Fayette County Public Schools and the M.A.D.E. (Motivated All Day Everyday) Program, which was developed by Mr. Logan Averritt at the Martin Luther King Academy. In cooperation with Mr. Averritt, other Fayette County School personnel Quincy Murdock, Greg Howard and Gerald Gibson provide the yearlong program. The purpose is to develop improved decision-making skills, character, integrity, educational improvements and social intelligence.

O.M.A.C. and the Fayette County Regional Jail
Greg Howard and Gerald Gibson deliver the O.M.A.C (Operation Making A Change) Program weekly at the Fayette County Regional Jail. Mr. Gerald Gibson, a part time employee of the Fayette County Attorney’s Office and a former gang member from the Illinois and Wisconsin areas, developed this one-of-a-kind program. The purpose of O.M.A.C. is to invest in the lives of troubled youth to promote change, centered in understanding the impact of their decisions and the consequences of that result.

Individual Mentoring
Currently Greg Howard and Gerald Gibson mentor youth who are incarcerated at the Department of Juvenile Justice Group Homes and the Bluegrass Challenge at Ft. Knox. Like O.M.A.C., this initiative is designed to invest in the lives of troubled youth to promote change, centered in understanding the impact of their decisions and the consequences of that result.


KIDS IN COURT
     Kids In Court          Kids In Court          Kids In Court

Since taking office in 2006, Mr. Roberts has provided the opportunity for fourth grade students at Veterans Park Elementary to participate in the preparation and trial of a civil and criminal case, which takes place downtown in a Fayette Circuit Court courtroom. This hands-on experience is an extension of the social studies curriculum that each student has in learning about government.

Each child learns the responsibilities of every participant in a trial and then is assigned a role to take for the particular case as a court bailiff, judge, juror, witness, prosecutor or defense attorney. The entire proceeding is handled by fourth graders.

DOWNTOWN CLEAN UP PROJECT:

Working with the Downtown Lexington Corporation, our office, through our Diversion Program, provides daily help to merchants by picking up litter and cigarettes on the sidewalks and store fronts.

TRUANCY PREVENTION:
Working closely with Fayette County Schools, our prosecutors are assigned to elementary schools throughout Lexington to help parents understand the importance of their children attending school. We know that trying to stop truancy habits in families with young students will result in a reduction of high school drop outs, and will have a significant impact on the majority of juvenile crimes. This program, known throughout the community as “TIP,” reaches out to families which have problems that can be serviced through a wide variety of agencies. In just one year, the schools' records have shown a major decline in absenteeism and tardies among the families that have participated in the program.

HIGH SCHOOL SHADOWING:
Working closely with Fayette County School Superintendents, Stu Silberman and Tom Shelton, local high schools coordinated many professional business and municipal leaders throughout Lexington to host in the annual "Shadow Program" for hundreds of students from Fayette County for an entire day. In March, 2008, our office gladly participated, and were pleased to host four eighth grade middle school students. Hailey Durham, Madison Gilinsky, Rhett Constantine and Haley Wright experienced, first hand, the daily activities and responsibilities of prosecutors in our office. Each year thereafter, senior students have participated in the program.

E.B.C.E.:
Fayette County Schools has a tremendously successful program of providing off site intern experiences for seniors through Experience Based Career Education. This is an effort to allow students to observe, first hand, the day-to-day operation of many different professions. Through participation with our office, students meet daily with prosecutors, domestic violence counselors and court staff while observing all aspects of the proceedings in the Fayette District Court. They are exposed to the process of filing criminal complaints, observing plea bargaining, meeting police officers, judges, and defense attorneys and watching felony preliminary hearings and jury trials.

LOCAL TASK FORCE COMMITMENTS:
Child Sexual Abuse
Division of Youth Services
Dog Task Force
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Prevention Board
Elder Abuse
Fatality Review Team
Juvenile Drug Court
Partners for Youth
Project Safe Neighborhood
Safe Child
Smoking Advisory Board
Truancy Reduction Initiative