UofL officer tells judge she was 'too busy' to appear in court


by Gene Kang


Posted on July 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 31 at 2:55 PM

(WHAS11) -- A University of Louisville Police Officer is charged with contempt after supposedly telling a judge she was too busy to show up for court.

That judge had some harsh words for the officer in court. She told the officer that she was "an embarrassment to all police in the county."
Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke, Jefferson District said, "I will have to say your demeanor and tone of voice talking to a judge was unbelievable."

Jefferson District Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke admonishing University of Louisville police officer, Kristen Byrd at a contempt hearing on Thursday.
Judge Pearce Burke said, "if you didn't show up today you would be getting arrested in about an hour. When I asked you to be here at 9:00 because of off-duty work. Really? I almost wanted to laugh that you would say that to a judge."
Officer Byrd told the judge she was too busy and would not come to trial after being subpoenaed.
That is after she wrote a doctor a traffic ticket and failed to show in court on Wednesday.
"If it was not important to you, you should not have written it. You wasted all the court personnel’s time for a number of hours. That is a lot of taxpayer money," said Judge Pearce Burke.

But what really upset the judge was Byrd's attitude on the phone when they spoke.
" I called you for the record at five minutes to 2:00 and identified myself as the judge and asked you where you were. You indicated you were busy and were not coming," said Judge Pearce Burke.

Her lawyer says she was having transportation problems with her children and could not show up to court. Not realizing it was the judge when she picked up the phone during roll call at work.
"I want to apologize for being disrespectful. There are no excuses. However there was background noise on the phone. I did not hear when you identified yourself. We just came in for roll call," Kristen Byrd, UofL Police Officer, said in court.

Byrd has to pay a $200 fine and $134 for court costs. UofL's campus police have launched an internal investigation.
"No. Incidents like this don't happen from UofL, I've been here 27 years, I don't remember this ever happening before. So we need to investigate and provide due process," said UofL spokesman John Drees.

Right after an interview with Drees, WHAS11 noticed Byrd sitting in her police cruiser under a viaduct on campus.

WHAS11 asked Byrd about the formal investigation by UofL and Byrd had no comment.
More than 1,000 criminal cases were dismissed in 2007 because officers did not show up to court.
A major problem that attorney, Kent Wicker, says has slowly improved over the years as commanding officers take it more seriously.

Officer Byrd could be punished after the investigation. She is due back in court August 14.