Judge Jacqueline M. Caldwell was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Division 1 of the 3rd Judicial District, on November 5, 2019, to fill the unexpired term of Justice Debra Hembree Lambert, who was elected to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2018. She ran unopposed in 2022 to be re-elected to a full term. The 3rd judicial district is composed of 25 counties in Central, South Central, and Eastern Kentucky.
In the sixteen years prior to her election to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Judge Caldwell worked as a prosecutor, in a small firm, and then as a solo practitioner, with a focus on family law, and as a Guardian ad Litem for children in dependency, neglect and abuse cases, as well as in high-conflict divorce and custody proceedings. As a victim of domestic violence herself in her early marriage, and then as a single mother working full time and attending school, Judge Caldwell has had life experiences similar to many of her clients.
In addition to her primary practice as a family law attorney, Judge Caldwell also practiced in the areas of probate, wills and estates, personal injury torts, small business matters, and as an appellate attorney. Judge Caldwell earned her juris doctor from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville and her undergraduate degree from Campbellsville University.
In addition to her legal career, Judge Caldwell is a dedicated mother whose community service is reflective of that. She is a former Girl Scout troop leader, former Cox’s Creek Elementary P.T.O. officer, and former member of the advisory Board of Directors to St. Joseph Montessori Children’s Center at Nazareth, KY.
Since taking the bench Judge Caldwell has been elected to serve as the Court of Appeals representative to the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, The Kentucky Bar Foundation, and the Kentucky Continuing Judicial Education Commission. Judge Caldwell is married to Aaron Thomas, is the proud mother of 2 daughters, and is a member of the St. Gregory the Great Parish in Samuels, Nelson County, KY.