Partial Transcript: Good afternoon. It's March 18th, 2014 and this is, uh, an interview with Judge Pamela Goodwine for the Legacy of African American Judges in Kentucky Project.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses a variety of topics ranging from her being adopted to the passing of her father and the influence those had on her life.
Keywords: Adopted; Entrepreneurship; Fathers; Foster care; Independence; Inner-city; Mothers; Retirement; Seamstresses; Siblings; Steel mills; Values; Youngstown (Ohio)
Subjects: African American business enterprises; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Economic conditions.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Childhood
Partial Transcript: And my father and mother's philosophy--they had eighth grade educations, was that the only way you're going to get out of the inner city and be successful is through education.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses her parents' views on the importance of education. She talks about her early education experiences.
Keywords: Competitive; Father's death; Pittsburgh (Penn.); Public school system; South High School; Valedictorians; Women in the courtroom
Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Education.; African Americans--Social conditions.
Partial Transcript: So, you found another path.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses obtaining her associates degree from ITT Technical Institute. She talks about her experiences as a freelance court reporter in Kentucky.
Keywords: Depositions; Freelance court reporters; ITT Tech; Job offers; Traveling
Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Lexington (Ky.); United States--Trials, litigation, etc.
Partial Transcript: But in 1980, in January, because I moved here in '79 and of course I realized, you know, keepin--keeping in the back of my mind my dream...
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine talks about why she enrolled in the Gatton School of Business at the University of Kentucky. She tells the story of her mother's murder and the effect it had on her life.
Keywords: Carol Martin Gatton College of Business; Counseling; Faith; Gatton School of Business; Grief; Killed; Macedonia Baptist Church; Mother; Murder; Partying; Rejection; University of Kentucky
Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Crimes against.; African Americans--Religion.; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.
Partial Transcript: And, um, about this same time my health began to deteriorate.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine talks about her health issues which resulted in a surgery that left her in a coma for 4 weeks. She talks about waking up from the coma, and her determination to get well enough to go back to work.
Keywords: Advanced Krohn's Disease; Chicago (Ill.); College; Coma; Court reporters; Dropping out; Fayette Circuit Court; Health issues; Hospitals; Intensive Care Unit (ICU); Northwestern University; Personnel management; Rehabilitation; Stress; Surgery
Subjects: African American college students.; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Health and hygiene.
Partial Transcript: Um, and at that point I went back to see Dr. Walton and told him what I had, you know, what I had done.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses her life in law school and during her practice.
Keywords: Corporate law; Internships; Law schools; Non-traditional students; Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs, LLP
Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American law students; African American lawyers; African Americans--Education (Higher); African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Law--Study and teaching; Practice of law--Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Law
Partial Transcript: Um, but went on to finish law school in '94, graduated. And Wyatt offered me a job.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine talk about working as an attorney at Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs, LLP. She talks about making political connections that would help her become a judge. She talks briefly about the law school environment.
Keywords: Advice; Attorneys; Competitive; Discipline; Governor Edward Breathitt; Job offers; Judgeship; Mayor Foster Pettit; Traveling
Subjects: African American college students--Social conditions; African American judges; African American law students; African American lawyers; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Judges--Selection and appointment--United States.; Law--Study and teaching; Practice of law--Kentucky; University of Kentucky. College of Law
Partial Transcript: Um, my first application was in 1996. I applied for the District Court position and I applied through the ju--the judicial nominating commission process.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses her judicial campaign and how she gained her appointment, which made her the first African American female judge in Fayette County. She talks about the people who mentored her and advised her throughout her campaign.
Keywords: 1999; Advisors; Appointment; Candidacy; County-wide election; District judges; Gender; Governor Edward Breathitt; Governor Paul Patton; Judge Gary Payne; Judge Jim Keller; Mentors; Mitchell Meade; Money; Opponents; Race; Representative Jesse Crenshaw; Support; Vacancies; Victorious
Subjects: African American judges; African American leadership; African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Politics and government.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Judges--Election; Judges--Selection and appointment--United States.
Partial Transcript: Well let's talk a little bit about your judgeship.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses her career as a judge and talks about some of her most memorable cases.
Keywords: Death penalty cases; Injustice; Memories; Misdemeanors; Rewarding
Subjects: African American judges; Practice of law--Kentucky; United States--Trials, litigation, etc.
Partial Transcript: We're almost done.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine talks about her involvement with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. She talks about the low number of African Americans currently working in the legal field.
Keywords: African Americans in legal field; Cost; Desire; Difficulty; Dreams; Encouragement; Hearing officers; Job opportunities; Judicial campaigns; Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Legal profession; Parents; Recruitment; Rewarding
Subjects: African American judges; African American law students; African American lawyers; African American leadership; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Discrimination.; Judges--Election; Practice of law--Kentucky
Partial Transcript: There's a couple things I want to share. One is my search for my biological family.
Segment Synopsis: Judge Goodwine discusses reuniting with her biological mother. She talks about her outlook on life. The interview is concluded.
Keywords: Achievements; Biological parents; Emotional; Encouraging; Honest; Obstacles; Positive; Relationships
Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Conduct of life.
ARD: Good afternoon. It's March 18th, 2014, and this is, uh, an interviewwith Judge Pamela Goodwine for the Legacy of African American Judges in Kentucky Project. My name is Constance Ard, and we are in the office of Judge Goodwine in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Fayette County Courthouse. Thank you, Judge Goodwine, for taking this opportunity to speak with us. I'm really excited to be, uh, hearing your story today.
GOODWINE: Thank you for having me be a part of this. I appreciate it.
ARD: Thank you. We're gonna start with really something very simple. So, canyou tell me where and when you were born?
GOODWINE: Yes. I was born on June 13th, 1960, in Youngstown, Ohio, and that'snortheast Ohio, between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but closer to Pittsburgh, so of course I'm a Steelers fan.
ARD: So, you're a football fan too.
GOODWINE: I'm a every sports fan.
ARD: Oh, that's great.
GOODWINE: I love it all. (laughs)
ARD: I can relate to that. Um, tell me about Youngstown.00:01:00
GOODWINE: Well, growing up, of course, I thought Youngstown was the greatestplace to live. That's the only thing I knew at that time. And of course, we traveled some during the summers, um, when I was growing up. But, Youngstown--I grew up in the inner city, below the, I guess--I didn't know I was poor at the time. Um, I had two very loving parents, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom, and my dad worked in the steel mills. And, um, their philosophy was "You will always have what you need, but you will work for what you want," and that was something they instilled in me and my younger sister at a very, very early age. And Youngstown, at that time, was very--it was the steel capital of the world. Um, there were four major steel mills in or around the Youngstown area, and my 00:02:00dad had worked his way up to upper management of one of those steel mills, Republic Steel, and, um, grew up in the public school system there, in Youngstown, Ohio. Um and, around the mid-seventies is when the steel industry began to collapse. My dad was lucky enough to retire in the mid to late seventies--1977, and right after his retirement, the steel mills and steel industry basically collapsed, and there was a huge, a mass exodus, um, from Youngstown. And as a result, as you can imagine, the city went down after that.
ARD: Um, you mentioned that your mom was a stay-at-home mom, and your dadworked in the steel mills.
ARD: Um, can you just tell--describe a little bit of your family life?
GOODWINE: Well, it--I guess I should give a little bit of background um,00:03:00because I found out I was adopted when I was probably about nine, and it was pretty interesting, because the way that I found out was learning about the reproductive system in school, and where babies come from, and those kinds of things, and how that whole process worked. And I was very inquisitive. And, um, knowing my parents' ages, and knowing my age, of course, I go home and I'm thinking, okay, where did I really come from? Because I know you couldn't have had me as a child. Of course, I probably was a little more tactful than that. And, um, I knew, growing up, that my parents were, um, foster parents, and was in the foster care system, because there were other children in and out of our home on a temporary basis all the time. So, there were, um, children placed in my mom's care for--until they could find placement, or until they were reunited 00:04:00with their families. And so, I started by saying, "Is this how--where did you get me from?" And, "Did you buy me in a store? Was I, you know, a social services baby, or what happened?" And, they were very truthful with me, and they sat me down, and basically told me that, um, I was adopted, and that my biological mom was a teenage mom who was from a very large family, and very poor, and that she couldn't afford to keep me. And, um, they--she wanted to place me up for adoption, and I was supposed to be a temporary placement in my parents' home, and--so I said, "Well, why am I still here (laughs) at nine years old?" And my dad laughed, and he looked at me, and he said, "I took one look at you and I just couldn't let you go." And they had me--I was three days old when I was placed with my parents. Um, interestingly, my parents did not want to 00:05:00raise me by myself. They had raised their daughters. They had two daughters, and their daughters were grown, and married, and they had grandchildren. And so they didn't want to raise me by myself, and so they sought another infant, another newborn. And, I think I was five weeks old when they found another infant, and adopted both of us, and raised us.
ARD: So they had two infants in the house at the--
GOODWINE: At the same time.
ARD: That's impressive.
GOODWINE: After raising their daughters. And, it--you know, they were in--mymom was fifty-three, and my dad was fifty-six when they made that decision, and so they had pretty much lived their lives, and had, like I said, raised their children. And it was so selfless that they wanted to give me and my sister a better life, to the point that my dad was willing to work several more years in 00:06:00the steel mills, just so that he could make sure that we were provided for.
ARD: That's an amazing story. Thank you for sharing that.
GOODWINE: Amazing, yeah.
ARD: Um, you mentioned earlier that your, uh, parents said you would alwayshave what you needed, and you would work for what you wanted. That's a very unusual value to be describing that way. Are there other values that your parents, uh, passed along to you?
GOODWINE: Absolutely. Um, they taught us independence, although my parentswere very traditional, um, in the sense that the husband worked and the wife stayed home. Um, my mother had a business of her own in the home--she was a seamstress, and made slipcovers and drapery, and intro--introduced us to that entrepreneurial-ship early on, and had us work in the business. We also had to have jobs outside of the home--not mandatory, but certainly encouraged, if we wanted those extra things. And, my father and mother's philosophy--they had 00:07:00eighth grade educations--was that the only way you're going to get out of the inner city and be successful is through education. And, they never tried to tell me what to do or what to be professionally. Um, they said, "You choose your path, um, but you must be educated. You must graduate from high school. You must go to college. And you can be whatever you want to be, whether that's a taxicab driver--own the taxicab company--or whether it's a garbage truck driver--own the garbage truck company," um, and so they always encouraged us, me and my sister, to pursue whatever career path or goals that we wanted. They just instilled the value of education.
ARD: Um, so let's talk about your education a little bit. Where did you attendhigh school and college?
GOODWINE: I went to--as I said, I grew up in the inner city, and went to public00:08:00schools. That's an interesting story in and of itself, because around the time I was in middle school, probably eighth or ninth grade, the public school system in Youngstown became infiltrated with drugs, and gangs, sort of, and bad behavior, and things like that. And my parents started talking about, "oh, we've got to pull you out of this environment, and we've got to put you in private school and we've got to, you know, protect you from the bad people in the world, so to speak." And, of course, I had grown up with all of these--we were neighborhood schools, so everyone in elementary school went to middle school, went to high school together. I didn't know anybody in private school. And so, I--I pleaded with my parents not to do that, and I said, "I think that 00:09:00it's all--it all comes from within, and whatever values you have--that I don't have to become part of that environment just because it's a bad environment, that I can go on and graduate from South High School--South High School--Public South High School, and go on and be successful." And, um, they were very scared with that decision. And I told them--I said, "You can put me in private school, pay for private school, and I can flunk out of private school because I don't want to be there, or you can leave me in public school, and let me go on and be the best that I can be." And so, they did that. They said, "Okay, fine, but you've got to--the minute we see that that's not happening, then we're going to pull you out of South High." Um, and I went on to graduate valedictorian of South High School. It was a class of 256. And my dad, um, said that his goal 00:10:00was to live long enough to see us graduate from high school. And, of course, no young girl thinks her dad is ever going to die. And so, I'm like, "Oh, Daddy, you'll walk me down the aisle, and you'll see me graduate from college, and you'll see me do all those things." Um, well, when I was sixteen--I guess it was my junior year of high school, is when I made the decision that I wanted to be a judge. And, I had observed, um, Thurgood Marshall being inducted, and, and I thought, he is the first African American to sit on the US Supreme Court, and I watched the inauguration, and I told my parents--I said, "I want to be the first African American somewhere to make a difference." And they said, "Well, if that's what you want to do, then that's what you want to do." They said, "Follow your dream." And, at the time, I didn't know exactly how that path was going to come about, um, but I just knew that that's what I wanted to do, and I 00:11:00began to, um, go to the courthouse in Youngstown, and talk to, um, people at the courthouse in Youngstown, Mahoning County, and one interesting phenomenon that was there was that there were no women. All of the judges were men, all of the court reporters were men, the whole, um, I guess environment was, "What are you doing here?" You know? And--and, you know, "This is our profession"--sort of exclusive. And, as I grew up--as I went on and thought about the legal profession, that was so true, so much so that I wrote a paper while I was in high school on the legal environment in Youngstown, and the careers in the--that were available at that time that seemed pretty limited for women, which made me all the more determined to follow that path.
ARD: That's impressive. Um, were you a good student? Obviously, as avaledictorian, you were. 00:12:00
GOODWINE: (laughs) I was a good student, yes, but very competitive. Um,and--and what I mean by that is, I guess we were in the end of our sophomore year, the first part of our junior year, where we started--we being those of us--say, the top fifteen in our class--started seeing what was setting us apart. Like, how close we were, um, who was where, and what grades we needed to, um, maintain our current status--those kinds of things. And so, I knew that if I was going to graduate valedictorian, that I had to get straight As, from the end of my sophomore year all the way through graduation, because the two girls right behind me were too close to--for me to be comfortable with anything else. And, um, and that's how I--that's how it played out. Um, we had two co-salutatorians, um, but I graduated with a 4.0 from South High School. And, 00:13:00not to mention that in our household, my father--you know, he said, you know, "I don't--I'm not going to be upset if you come home with a C, as long as I know that was your best. But, you're not going to bring home Bs and Cs if you can do A work." Um, and so, he--that was just something we knew was expected of us, and we, um, lived by that. I just--he--I just wasn't going to settle for not being the best, and an A was always the best. And so, that competitiveness was in me. I was like, you know, Linda and Valerie are just not going to get the best of me. And so--(laughs)--you know, I've got a 4.0, I've got to keep this 4.0, because they're at 3.98, or 3.97, um, in order to make it to that point.
ARD: And did you go to college straight out of high school, or did you work--
GOODWINE: Um, no. Yes, I worked, but no, I didn't go to college straight out00:14:00of high school, but not for the reasons you think. Um, I--as valedictorian, as you can imagine, had scholarship opportunities and offers all over the country. I wanted to stay close to home, and I accepted a four-year scholarship to Carnegie Mellon, and was ready to--like all of my, you know, senior friends, planning to leave that summer to go to Carnegie Mellon. And, in August of 1978--I graduated June 2nd, 1978, and I made several trips to Pittsburgh, you know, picking out the dorm I was going to stay in, and my best girlfriend lived in Pittsburgh, and, you know, we were planning the fall of '78. And, in August of '78, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. And, it was--the doctor basically said, "He'll live six months. Um, we can't treat it. It's terminal." 00:15:00And, I--my sister had accepted a scholarship to Ohio State, and she was going to, um, leave to go to Columbus. And, I just told my parents--I said, "I can't leave. I can't--" I, I told my mother--I said, "I can't leave you here to take care of Dad by yourself." And my sisters, the older sisters who were grown--you know, they were coming home, and taking--and helping, but it was a situation where he gave up his life for me. Um, he worked those extra years in the steel mills, and so I forfeited my scholarships, stayed home, um, and of course, he was upset to the extent that he could be, with that decision. And I told him--I said, "I've got the rest of my life. You only have six months, and I'm going to spend these six months with you." Um, and, I knew at that point that I had to find another path--not that my dream wouldn't be realized, I just had to find 00:16:00another path. And so, um, Daddy continually de-deteriorated, and he died in March of 1979, so it was right about six months. Um, and that was probably the hardest thing that I ever had to experience. One, because the Friday night--he died on a Sunday--the Friday night before he died, we thought it was imminent, that death was imminent, and we all came together, and we all was there--we were all by his bedside. He didn't die that night, and Saturday morning, he was fine. Sunday, he was up sitting in bed, he was singing, he knew all of us, and, you know, Mama said, "He's fine, he's going to be fine. Take your sister back to Columbus--take her back to Ohio State." And so, I said, "Okay," and I left the hospital to take her back to Ohio State. And he died while I was gone. And, they--and in fact, they called her--my sister--right as I was driving off 00:17:00to go back to Youngstown. And so I drove all the way back to Youngstown without knowing, you know, that he had passed away. And I knew, when I drove up to the house, because all of the cars were there, and, you know--and I, I was just hysterical, because, you know, I was like, "Why did you--I wasn't here." Well, you know, why did you make me leave? Um, and, of course, it took her some time to explain to me, you know, that that wasn't intentional, it just happened that way, and it took me a long time to deal with that, and to address that.
ARD: That's very difficult. Thank you for sharing that.
Goodwine: Yep, very difficult.
ARD: So, you found another path.
GOODWINE: I found another path. Um, while I--remember the story I told youabout, I went to the Mahoning County Courthouse, and the only thing there were males, um, including the court reporters. Well, I decided to then go to ITT Tech [ITT Technical Institute], and become a court reporter--one, because it was 00:18:00a very lucrative career. Two, because, um, it would get me into the courtroom. It would introduce me, um, to judges and attorneys and, um, it--I could have a job anywhere, anywhere I wanted to go, although I did not anticipate that I would get a job in Youngstown. Um, and so I talked to my mom and I said, "I've got to put myself through college now, and so I have to find a way to do that." And, of course, in Youngstown, the chatter was, "I can't believe the valedictorian of South High School is going to technical school," um, although at the same time, I was enrolled in Youngstown State in the accounting program. But, I didn't know if I'd get a job in accounting. I knew that I would get a job somewhere as a court reporter, because it was a very lucrative, um, career path at that time. And so, it was a two--two-year program--the associates 00:19:00degree, but after your first year, you could go at your own speed, you didn't have to take two years. And so, I graduated in fourteen months, and the day that I graduated, I received a call from a lady in Lexington, um, saying that one of my teachers at ITT Tech and her were good friends, and she had referred me to Kathy, and Kathy said, "Would you be interested in coming to Lexington to interview?" I had no clue where this place was. Um, and so I--(laughs)--talked to my mom and I said, "Well, I've got a job interview in Lexington, Kentucky." Well, my mom was like, "Oh," you know, "Lexington, Kentucky? Oh my God." Um. so she was a little scared, if you will. I think she had only seen the Dukes of Hazzard, or something. So, her--she had limited--(laughs)--information about 00:20:00Lex--I said, "It's right outside Cincinnati." Of course, it's a little further than right outside. Um, but, I came to Lexington in November of 1979 for an interview as a freelance court reporter, meaning traveling all over the state--was hired on the spot. Um, said, "How soon can you get down here? We really need you. Um, this is very lucrative." And, I was--even in November, Lexington was beautiful, compared to Youngstown, and for comparison, Youngstown looked like--looked like Catlettsburg, you know--very, you know, dirty, there's pipes from the steel mills that, you know, they were closed, and it was just very dirty and nasty. So, I was very impressed with the landscape--um, the horse farms, and, you know, everything, and I accepted the job offer, and moved within two weeks. And I told my mom, "I'm only six hours away--you know, if you need me, I'll be back home, um, but I've got to do this," and so moved to 00:21:00Lexington in November of '79, and thought it would be a temporary stay, but here I am.
ARD: (laughs) So you were a traveling court reporter?
GOODWINE: I was what was called a freelance court reporter, and what that meantwas, either attorneys or, um, court clerks would call our firm and say they needed a court reporter for--for example, I would travel to eastern Kentucky, I remember several trips to Harlan--the court reporter there was on sick leave, and so they had several trials that they needed to have covered, and so they would contract with our firm to cover those trials. And attorneys would schedule depositions in different counties, and I would travel all over the state to take those depositions. So, my boss gave me a map of Kentucky and 00:22:00said, "I hope you're good at reading--(laughs)--a map," and it, it was a very interesting journey. Um, I had to figure out the difference between Knott County and Knox County, and, you know, Stanton and Stanford--that was on the opposite ends of the state. Williamstown and Williamsburg was another one that, you know, I had trouble with. Um, but I loved it. Um, for the most part, um, there were interesting, um, trials, and interesting, um, scenarios. Uh, being an African American, um, in some of those counties--(laughs)--was, um, as I was told, um, not the best place to be. Um, however, I survived, and everything went very, very well. Um, I was--I did that from '79 until about '84, and then 00:23:00we'll talk about why that change occurred. Um, but in 1980, in January--because I moved here in '79, and of course, I realized, you know, keeping in the back of my mind my dream. I'm like, I loved court reporting, but my dream is to become a judge, and--(laughs)--in order to do that, I've got to graduate from college. I only had an associate's degree at that time. So, I enrolled at UK [University of Kentucky], at Gatton--Carol Martin Gatton College of Business, and was going at night, because--because one, because I'm having to pay for my classes, and two, I was working during the day. Um, and in May of 1980, I was in Harlan, covering a trial, and I got home that night, and got a call that my mom had been shot and killed, back in Youngstown. And, of course, um, devastated. Um, it 00:24:00was--the first thought in my mind was it was a random act of violence, um, but that isn't how it turned out. Um, it was a family member, and it was my dad's brother, our favorite uncle. Um, he got me my first car. Um, and he lured my sister, my older sister--my mom and dad's daughter who was back home-- she had moved back home, her husband was in the military, and he got stationed overseas, so she moved back home. And he lured her--convinced her to bring my mom to his home in Campbell, which was a suburb of Youngstown, and when they walked in, he shot her. And, his excuse was, he blamed my mom for my dad's death--he and my dad were very close, it was his brother. Um, so in May of 1980, I had to bury 00:25:00my mom, now, under what was very trying, very difficult circumstances. Um, it's a story within itself, just how the whole case was handled. Of course, being interested in the legal profession, I want to follow this case. Um, and he was never tried, he was never--he never went to jail. He, um, pled mentally incompetent to stand trial, committed for a short period of time, ninety days, was released, committed another murder of a family member. That process repeated itself, and his second stay in the mental institution, he died in his sleep. Um, and so I'm now nineteen, I've lost both my parents, both my adopted parents, um, and as you can imagine, I'm very angry. Um, and when I say I'm very angry, because you know, my parents were very religious, very--they raised 00:26:00us to be very religious, um, have a faith beyond all else. When all else fails, you have your faith. And, you know, my mom, um, was a foster mom, she took in--I won't say strays, but she--she loved people, she loved kids, she loved children. There was no one she wouldn't help. Um, and for her to die a death like that, to me, was just, um, you know, how could God be so cruel? Um, you know, and I said, "you know, God--my mom was the most devout Christian, and if this is how a Christian's life is supposed to end, then I don't want any part of this." Despite being raised in the church, despite being raised as a Christian, I was just, like I said, very, very, very bitter. Um, and, as you can imagine, I'm a freshman, I'm in college, although for my age, and--I should be a little higher than that, but still a freshman in college, and on a college campus. And 00:27:00I thought, what's the use, what's the point? Um, and had a very, very hard time dealing with grief. Um, buried myself in my work for a while, but, the traveling, um, and that grief was very difficult, because I was in hotels, I was, you know, having to be on the road a lot, um, and of course, my st--my, um, coursework suffered as a result. And so I turned to partying, I turned to that typical, freshman in college, um, take my pain away. Um, and, at that time, um, I was a little naive, of course--not having lived the party scene, and not being around that kind of atmosphere, I didn't know what was going on, or--even around me, let alone what could happen if I took those things, or engaged in that kind 00:28:00of activity. And so, I did the party hopping, and--usually with friends, and at friends' houses, and friends took me to bars, and, and my life was spiraling, literally, out of control. And I--the--you know, for those who--and I--when I speak, and I do speak everywhere and share this story with college students, high school students, everybody, um, and particularly with parents, that when you raise your children, one, to be independent, but two, to know right from wrong, and to know and make their own decisions, there's an aha moment, okay? There's that aha moment that oh, I'm spiraling out of control. And, um, I had gone to a party that wasn't far from my house, but I couldn't find my house. I couldn't, I couldn't find how to get back to my house. And it was, I don't know, three or four o'clock in the morning, and I'm drive--I'm driving up and 00:29:00down Nicholasville Road, and I'm clueless about where am I, you know, how do I get home, um, and I literally stop in front of the Carol Martin Gatton College of Business, there in that median, and just in the middle of the street, and just break down, literally. Um, I'm-I'm crying, I'm hysterical, and I don't know if that was more because I was just scared, like, I don't know how to get home, I don't know what to do, and I can't call the police, because I'll probably be arrested for drunk driving. Um, and, so I sat there for a minute, and literally, I just--a voice came to me, and said, "You have got to get your act together, or you are going to spiral out of control." And that--what that said to me was, I needed help. I needed to seek professional help. I needed grief counseling, I needed spiritual counseling, I needed somebody to talk to, or I was going to ruin my life. And so, I started with the professional counseling, 00:30:00and I started to seek--um, I think it was at UK [University of Kentucky]--um, I started talking to a, um, psychologist, but I thought I needed more than that, and I think because of my upbringing, I felt I needed more of a spiritual guidance, a spiritual counselor, and started visiting churches. And, just at random, I really literally just walked into one off the street, um, and was amazed at what I found--a lot of rejection, um, and in talking to some people, I was directed to a particular church in Jessamine County, Macedonia, uh, Baptist Church. Um, and I went there, just because I was really searching. It isn't someplace you would find just--(laughs)--wandering around, because it really is 00:31:00nest-nestled back up in the woods. And when I went there, they greeted me with open arms, and they, they could tell that I was seeking something, but they didn't pry. They're just, "You're welcome here. Where do you live? If you live near us, we'll come get you--you can ride to church with us," um, and that was in '82, so two years from the time my mom's--of death, until now. And, it was--I was probably visiting there a couple of months before I actually joined. It was a Baptist church, and I was raised Pentecostal, and I thought my parents were going to turn over in their graves, um, but in talking with the minister there, again, helping me understand what had happened, and why it happened, and he basically said, "You're not--you may never know the answer to that, but you've got to find peace." And they, um--that community church was kind of all 00:32:00related, family-wise, and so I was kind of an outsider, which made it all the more special. And, um, about this same time, my health began to deteriorate. Um, I thought it was grief, and I began going to doctors at UK [University of Kentucky], and everywhere else. Um, no one knew what was wrong with me. I was, um, losing a lot of weight. Again, um, no real symptoms other than, you know, gastrointestinal problems, um, things that are associated with stress. Um, as you can imagine, that made work and travel difficult. And so, um, two--about two years passed, and my symptoms are getting worse. They think it's ulcerative colitis. Some doctors thought that it might be Crohn's, but nobody could put their finger on what was going on. And they--one doctor told me I needed a high 00:33:00fiber diet, another doctor told me I needed to eat oatmeal and mashed potatoes. Um, by then I was on like, twelve pills a day. So, I decided to stop traveling, but I still wanted to work as a court reporter. And so, I, in 1984, applied to Fayette Circuit Court as a criminal court reporter, a roving court reporter. They had six judges, and each judge had a criminal docket twice a year, and they were advertising for a court reporter to assist with that. And I interviewed, and I was hired in August of 1984. And, what's interesting about this part of the story--it's not a story, but my life--is that I actually worked for twenty-nine days. And the reason that's important is because had I been able to work thirty days or thirty-one days, my health insurance would have kicked in. 00:34:00But, I was only able to work twenty-nine days when I totally collapsed. I couldn't--I could not function. Um, my--the--whatever--the illness at the time had just taken over, I was hemorrhaging, I couldn't stand up, I was faint, I was weak. I had gone from 110 pounds to, like, eight-six pounds, um, and I went to the judges, and I said, um, "I don't want to lose my job. This is all I have. This is what will keep me going," I said, "but I've got to figure out what's wrong with me." And so they said, you know, with--you have--there's FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] leave--you won't be paid for it, but at least you can figure out what's going on. And during that period of time, I went to Northwestern. My sister was in grad school in Chicago. And, um, so she wanted 00:35:00me to come to Northwestern to be evaluated, for them to determine what was wrong with me. Obviously, I had to drop out of school, um, and I dropped out in '84, right when I started working. Um, so I went to Chicago, went to the--went in the hospital. It was the week from hell. Um, by now, I had been poked and prodded, and I had so many proctosigmoidoscopies that, you know, I'm like, "Really? You got to do that again?" Um, but they--Dr. Schachter there did that, and, I'll spare you the details of that week. Um, it'll be in the book. (laughs) Um, but anyway, he came in the next morning and he said, "Pam, you have the most advanced stage of Crohn's disease I've ever seen for somebody to still be alive," and said, "You need to have surgery immediately to have your colon removed, or you're going to die." Um, and he was just that blunt. And he said, 00:36:00"You can stay here in Chicago, and we can schedule the surgery, or you can go back to Lexington and get it scheduled there." Um, unfortunately, my sister had gone to Italy, so she wasn't there in Chicago. Um, two of my friends from my church went to Chicago with me, and they said, "Pam, let's get you back home and let's figure out the next step." And so we came back to Lexington. For six and a half weeks, I tried to get into a hospital to have surgery, and couldn't. Um, one, I had no health insurance. Two, they said it was elective. I mean, imagine that. Um, and so from--I came back in September of 1984. My twelve weeks was about up, but I still hadn't, you know, had the surgery yet, and so I went back to my judges and I said, "Here's the deal. I need to have surgery. I 00:37:00don't know when I can get that scheduled. Just please promise me that my job will still be here." And they're looking at me, like, why do you care about your job? And I said, "Well, because--(laughs)--I have to work." Um, anyway, I, I get this--I get a $5,000 grant from the Department of Vocational Rehab, because I convinced them that the only way I could return to work was with this surgery. And so, November of 1984, I get admitted to St. Joe, the Monday after Thanksgiving, and Dr. Walton said, "It's a very simple surgery, we're just going to shut down your system, do a temporary ileostomy, and you'll be fine--seven days." I'm like, "Oh, okay." Then, six weeks recovery, I'll be back to work. Um, well, it didn't quite go that well. Um, had the surgery on Monday, and on Thursday, I couldn't walk. I couldn't stand up. I couldn't function. I was delirious. Nobody--they didn't know why. Um, they speculated that I was 00:38:00hemorrhaging, because I had a fever, there was infection, they didn't know what was going on. Um, Dr. Walton told me that he suspected I was hemorrhaging, but he didn't know where the bleeder was, and that--for me to call my family, and to basically say goodbye, because he did not suspect that I would survive another surgery. And, um, I basic--so, I did that. My family was there, and I basically had said, "I'm okay with this," that if I don't wake up, I'm okay with that, that it's God's will. I've lived a great life as far as, you know, any twenty-four-year old can, and I cannot live like this anymore. I'm in pain, I can't function, I can't function as a human being, and so if this is how I'm supposed to die, then it's okay. And we all held hands, and we said a prayer, 00:39:00and, um, I went into surgery Friday morning, um, I did not wake up for four and a half weeks. I was in a coma. I was in ICU [Intensive Care Unit]. Um, and, when I woke up from surgery, from--in ICU, um, the first questions were, "Do you know where you are? Do you know who you are? Do you know what happened?" And, of course, I knew the answer to those things. Um, my first conversation with Dr. Walton was that I would never work again. He didn't know when or if I would leave St. Joe, and that I would probably be on Social Security disability for the rest of my life. And, I looked at him and I said, "That's just not an option." And he said, "You're too sick to even worry about this right now." And I said, "So you can't tell me when I can go home?" (laughs) And, he's like, 00:40:00"no--or if you're going to go home." Um, so for the next four and a half weeks or so, I was at St. Joe, and I'm bucking the crap out of everybody, like, "Really? I'm still here--it's Valentine's Day!" Um, well, I think it was New Years, when some Santa Claus or kangaroo came to my room, and, um, I didn't think that was very funny. So, sometime in mid-February of 1985, I told Dr. Walton that I was leaving St. Joe. I was like, "I can either leave with your permission, or we can have a game plan--(laughs)--but I'm leaving." And he said, "the only way that's going to happen is if someone stays with you twenty-four hours." He said, "you have had transfusions, you cannot live by yourself." And so my church family said, "okay, we'll stay with her. We'll rotate. We'll stay with her for twenty--you know, twenty-four hours. Somebody 00:41:00will be there." And he said "okay," um, so I left St. Joe, and I told my--I was on--I had a morphine pump hooked up, IV [intravenously], and we were leaving the--oh, when I was escorted out, and they gave me all my paperwork, they gave me a bill for $45,000. I was like, uh, okay, this is nice, considering I don't--haven't worked yet. Um, but anyway, I told my friend who took me--who was taking me home--I said, "Take me by the courthouse." And, you know, they were like, "What?" I said, "Just, just take me by the courthouse. Indulge me." I said, "If I can just walk to the fourth floor and open the door and see my office, or go to a courtroom, then I will see that there's hope, okay?" And so they did, and, um, of course, everybody was glad to see me there, and I told them--I said, "I'm going to be back. I'm going to come back." And, Dr. Walton 00:42:00told me that I needed to have one, maybe two more surgeries, but that I needed to have extensive rehab, because I had really lost the ability to function. I couldn't bathe myself or dress myself or put my hands up over my head, or any of those things, even when I had gone home. Um, so my church family, again, rotated, um, who would stay with me, and went through the eighteen months of rehab. Um, couldn't drive. And, in, I think it was about May of '86 when I went to Dr. Walton and I said, "This isn't working. I'm still sick. I'm still--I, I still feel like a zombie. I'm on twelve pills a day. You've done this surgery, I've gone through rehab, and I'm still sick. I can't eat what I want, I can't do what I want, I can't work a full day--I can't do anything. 00:43:00This is not living." And he said, "Pam, this is probably going to be the best that it's going to get." And I said, "Why can't I--why is this just temporary? Why can't you just go back in and take everything out? Just take it all out, all the disease, all the colon, everything." I tried to convince him to take out other stuff too, but he wouldn't. Um, and I said, "Why not do that?" And he said, "So you want me to do a permanent ileostomy?" He said, "You're only twenty-six." I said, "But I'm not--I don't have a life. I feel like I'm eighty." And I did--I convinced him, in May of '86 to go back in, do the final surgery, um, went back to St. Joe. Again, he said, "You know the process," and he performed the surgery--did a complete ileostomy, took out my entire colon, a few other things, although he wouldn't--I told him I was never having kids, because he told me that this was hereditary, which leads me to why I started the 00:44:00search for my birth parents. But he told me that in all likelihood, it was hereditary. I said, "I'm not having kids, you might as well take out the hysterect--do the hysterectomy, and all that, while you're in there." Well, he wouldn't do that, but anyway, um, seven days later, I was home. Seven days later, I was eating spaghetti. Um, went through six weeks of rehab, and went back to work. Um, and was continually under doctor's care, and I told him--I said--he said, you know, "You've gone back to work?" I said, "Yeah, and I'm going to go back to--(laughs)--school too." And he was very stunned, and he said, "Pam," he said, "you qualify for Social Security disability, and Crohn's is not curable. Stress will reactivate it. It can reoccur. Why do you want to do that to yourself?" And I said, "I've got a dream to fulfill, and this is not going to keep me from doing it." Um, and so I worked, I went back to work. I 00:45:00still couldn't drive. Um, went back to work, and in the fall of 1987, I walked back to UK's [University of Kentucky's] campus, and I went back to the Carol Martin Gatton College of Business, and I told Dean Furst to sign me up for the lifetime plan, because I was going to take one college course for the rest of my life--(laughs)--until I got my bachelor's degree. And so he signed me up, and, um, I started--I think it was August or September of 1987--um, walked for I think eight or nine months to school, or caught the Lextran bus, because I still couldn't drive yet. Um, and continued to work. My job--they held my job for me at the courthouse, and so, um, started back to work as a court reporter, and 00:46:00went to school at night, continued to see Dr. Walton, continued to take my meds, and, um, four years later, in May of 1991, I graduated with my bachelor's degree in personnel management, and, um, at that point, I went back to see Dr. Walton, told him what I had, you know, what I had done, and I said, "I'm going to go to law school in the fall." And of course, he was, like, livid. He said, "You've been very lucky, and, you know, we've managed to keep your Crohn's under control, but, you know, the stress of law school is very difficult." And I said, "Dr. Walton, I've known you now since--(laughs)--1984, and there's nothing you can say to stop be from doing that." Um, and I told him too--I said, "You know, I come see you twice a month, and you say, 'Okay, everything's fine,'" or I'll have a, you know, some minor infection or something, and he'll tell me what 00:47:00to do, and I said, "I'm not going to do that anymore." I said, "I'm going to see how this works with me managing my diet, and I'm going to stop, stop taking these pills, and I'll call you if I need you. I've got your--(laughs)--home number." And so, I did that. I stopped taking the pills, and I quit going to see him--I wouldn't recommend that for every--just anybody--um, and started law school. I was thirty-one. I was a nontraditional law school student. And, of course, I was told that, "Oh, you've got to compete with the twenty-two year olds, and oh, you've got to compete with--you're never going to make it." You know, "Who's going to hire you at, you know, thirty-four? You'll be thirty-four, oh my God, you'll be old when you graduate from law school." And, I went in with the mindset that if no one hires me, I'll hang out my shingle, but I'm going to get my law degree, because as my dad would always say, "no one 00:48:00can take away your education. You achieved that. No matter what happens afterwards, no one can take that away from you." And so, um, after my first year of law school, I clerked for Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs--I got a summer associate intern-- a summer associate, uh, position at Wyatt--never in a million years thought I would work in corporate America, let alone corporate law, because I wanted to prosecute. I wanted to put away the bad guys, I wanted to work for the commonwealth attorney's office, um, but he had no positions available at the time. And so, started my summer at Wyatt, enjoyed labor law, employment law. Um, they saw me as being an older, more, um, I guess, developed individual, so they gave me more responsibility. Um, was not sick at all, had 00:49:00no symptoms--um, it did not interfere with my traveling or my work at all. And, um, had a very good summer at Wyatt, and they said, you know, "There's a very good chance that we will offer you a position upon graduation." My second year, after my second year, I wanted to clerk for a smaller law firm, just to compare the two, and I worked for Bee, Mott and Wills (??), a very small firm here in town, and that was a great experience as well. Um, but went on to finish law school in '94, graduated, and Wyatt offered me a job. And, I remember the interview, and, and they said, "You had a really good summer, you worked in labor and employment. Is that the section you want to work in?" And I said "Yes, I love that area of the law." And, they said, "Well, we have clients in the Southeast region," which is Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina. "It would involve lots of travel. Are you okay with that?" I said, "I'm fine with 00:50:00that." So, they said, "Keep a suitcase packed." I was single at the time, and, um, and began my career as an attorney. Um, loved it, uh, did a lot of traveling in that area, but I--when I was interviewing, we had this conversation about their partnership track, and how long it would take to make partner, and--(laughs)--I just looked at 'em and I said, "I don't want to be partner." And they were like, "What? Most people, you know, want to be partner." And I said, "I want to be a judge." I said, "That's my dream. That's my goal." And they said, "Really?" And I said, "Yeah." And they said, "Well, if that's really what you want to do, then, we need to introduce you to the powers that be." And I didn't know quite what that meant at the time, um, but there was a pol--a very political side to becoming a judge that I was very unaware of, that they were very, very instrumental in getting me, um, acquainted with that side 00:51:00of it. I was introduced to former Governor Ned Breathitt, um, um, other attorneys in the firm had worked in politics, they knew Governor [Paul E.] Patton, um, and so they put--and I said, "Maybe this is why, um, those doors were open for me, as opposed to prosecution, because I needed to meet those people, I needed to become aware of that process, and how that process worked." And, so I worked at Wyatt from '94 to '99, and then I got appointed. And I just went on and talked forever. (laughs)
ARD: No, but that is good. That's good. I want to take us back to law school--
GOODWINE: --sure, sure--
ARD: --just briefly, to kind of get an idea from you of what that environmentwas like.
GOODWINE: Um, law school was fun, in the sense that my first year of lawschool, you couldn't work your first year. Um, and that was, that was fun for 00:52:00me, because I never got to experience that in college. Um, and so, I could wear a ponytail and sweats, and although I was probably the oldest one in my class, no one knew it, because I looked twelve, and, um, I had--I didn't have the normal, I guess, fears that most first-year law students have, because I had been in the law since I was nineteen, um, and so I knew what a courtroom was like, I knew what a trial was like--I knew all of those things, so that wasn't new to me. And, having studied at night, I was very disciplined in my study. So, on the one hand, it was fun, because I was able to, like I said, wear sweats, and carry a backpack, and go to class, um, but I didn't--you know, I 00:53:00didn't hang out and party, if you will, because I had been there, done that, um, in undergrad. Law school was also very competitive. Everyone in law school was--was a 4.0. Everyone who got into law school were good students. Um, and so they were telling us about this bell curve, and it's a forced bell curve, and you'll get your first C, you know, in law school, and, you know, don't let that destroy you--you know, those kinds of things. And, there were--there were students who, you know, although your grades were supposed to be anonymous, and you took tests by number, there were students who were hell-bent, on, like, "We're going to know who got the As, the Bs, and the Cs," and, you know, kind of set themselves apart. So I didn't go into law school saying I was going to graduate number one, I just wanted to graduate, you know--one, I wanted to graduate--(laughs)--two, I wanted to try to make the top half of the class, but that wasn't as key a focus as it was in undergrad, because it wasn't as important. 00:54:00
ARD: Okay, thank you for that. Um, and talking about the fact that you--whenyou were hired at Wyatt, you immediately tell them, "I'm not on the partnership track--"
ARD: --"I want to be a judge," and so they said, "Great--"
ARD: --"let me introduce you to people--"
ARD: Can you talk a little more about that type of experience, and how thatinfluenced, um, your path to the judgeship?
GOODWINE: Well, it was an eye-opener, because I had no idea. I, I really hadno idea how to become a judge. I knew I had to graduate from college, I had to graduate from law school, and I had to practice a certain number of years. At first, I thought it was just an application process, and you interview like you do for any other job, but that was not the process at all. And so, the political aspect of it, I had no idea what that was about. And so, by telling, 00:55:00and being very upfront with the partners that interviewed me, they said, "That's great, knowing what you want to do is, is half the battle. The other half of the battle is, if you're serious about this, getting hooked up with the people that can help you along that path--they can talk to you about what you need to do, what you need to be doing to prepare yourself, when you need to apply, how you need to apply, who you need to be associated with." So, the very first person I met was Governor Ned Breathitt, whose office was on the fifteenth floor. My office was on the seventeenth floor. And we had a very candid conversation about, um, his path to the governorship, and--and my path to becoming a judge. He said, "Well, there's an appointment process, there's a commission you have to come out of, you have to be in tune with the governorship," um, and he said, "even though it's nonpartisan, there may be 00:56:00partisan principles, that you know, you're going to be torn in between Republican and Democrat, and you may be pulled in those directions." I--again, was very--this was all very new to me. And he told me--he said, "The very first thing you need to do is get involved in a campaign, somebody's campaign--it doesn't matter if it's city commissioner, it doesn't matter if it's a mayoral race, it doesn't matter if it's a state representative's race--it doesn't matter, but you need to get inside a political campaign, so that you can see how this is going to work, because you're going to have to set one up one day. You're going to have to run a campaign one day." Und so, Foster Pettit was also working at, um, Wyatt--former mayor, and he shared some thoughts and ideas with me as well. And so, one of my first questions was, how soon can I become a judge? And of course, they tell me that there's different levels, and I learned 00:57:00about the judicial hierarchy, here in Fayette County being the district court level, the circuit court level, the appellate level, and then the Supreme Court level, and they said, "You will probably start out at the bottom, um, and that--where you have to practice at least two years, um, in order to even qualify for the district court level, eight years for circuit court, and above." He said, "But you won't get it with just two years' experience." He--they told me about the judicial nominating commission process, um, and said, "You will probably go through that process two or three times before you even come out of committee, and be one of the final three that the Governor will choose from, um, but you have to be prepared for that process, and if you come out of committee, then you have to go to Frankfurt, meet with the Governor, know somebody who knows the Governor, um, and start that process." And so in addition to my 00:58:00duties as an attorney and billing 1,800 hours a year, I was having to do all these things behind the scenes. And, they told me that I needed to get on some boards, some commissions, be visible in Lexington, um, in order to have my name out there, my face out there, so that people would know and understand that I was serious about the process. Um, my first application was in 1996. I applied for the district court position, and I applied through the, the judicial nominating commission process. Um, was talking to my former judges, because I stayed in contact with them, and they said, "Pam, it's good that you're applying, but you won't--you don't stand a chance to come out of commission." 00:59:00And, of course, I took that as an insult, but I certainly understood what they meant. But they said, "You have to start this process." And so, of course, I didn't come out of committee, um, and they said, "But now, one, your name's out there, because you've applied. You now need to start thinking in terms of timing. When is this going to happen next?" So you've got to be thinking, who's going to retire, who's going to move up, who--in addition to billing 1,800 hours a year. Um, and so, at that time, I thought my first opportunity where it would be likely I would come out of committee would be 2002, because that's when I thought Judge Payne would move up, and so I'm thinking ahead. However, in 1999, there was a vacancy, because someone retired in circuit court and one of 01:00:00the district judges moved up. And so, that vacancy came up, and that now, all of a sudden, I was faced with, you didn't think this was going to happen until 2002. What are you going to do? And so I go back to my advisors, and they say, "You can't pass up an opportunity. You've got to apply at each vacancy, because you've got to keep your name out there, you've got to stay focused, and you've got to do this. But, you can't just apply and not think you're going to get it, because you have to go into this believing you're going to come out of committee, and then be prepared to take the next step." So I applied for the 1999 vacancy. Um, I was one of three that came out of committee, in '99. That didn't happen in 1996, so I'm now faced with another task, um, and so my supporters are saying, "You need to do this, you need to do this, you need to do this, you need to write this person, you need to call this person." So every free waking moment was spent with spinning the political aspect of getting the 01:01:00appointment--meeting with Governor Patton, going to Frankfurt, meeting with his personnel committee, writing letters, getting people to write letters, talking about it, um, and there was no timetable. We--we didn't know how long he was going to take to make the appointment. We didn't know if it would be quick, or long, or what. We just had to be prepared. And it came down to me and another, um, contender for the actual appointment. We both came out of committee. She--she had her followers, and her--and I had mine, and it went back and forth, and the one major question was, "If you get this appointment, are you prepared to run a countywide race?" Like, it's countywide--it's not districtwide, it's the entire Fayette County. "Are you prepared to do that?" And I said, "yes." And I said, "I don't have a clue how to do that." (laughs) Um, but again, having worked in a few campaigns, since I was told to do that, had some idea of 01:02:00at least how to start, and, um, the call came in from, uh, Governor Patton's personnel, uh, chair, and, um, I was at work, and got the appointment. It was August 19th, 1999. Um, and I honestly cannot--I mean, the elation of that--I had turned thirty-nine in June, and the dream was--six--I was sixteen. And suddenly, I was now appointed to the bench, um, soon to be sworn in. Um, and this was August. The ra--the countywide race was in November. And, I had nine appointments that had filed to run against me in that race. One saying "She doesn't know what she's doing--she got the appointment. She only got it because she was black. She only got it because he needed the African American vote." I 01:03:00mean, all kinds of things, which--as I told you, back when I was in high school, none of that ever matters to me, what people say. Um, and so, I--I got the appointment, and I had to start work. I got sworn in a, a week or two later, and started work on--you know, I was working as a district judge, and putting together a committee, putting together my campaign--getting a campaign manager, and putting all that together, knowing that I had to run a countywide race in less than, you know, however many months that was. And so, it was--it was pretty nonstop, uh, pretty nonstop, and the--you know, it, it was the desire to want something, and I had--I had people in place who was advising me, who had been very successful at running campaigns. But there came a point where I had 01:04:00to stop, and, you know--because I had to give account for every minute of every day to these people. You know, they'd sit me down, and say, "Now, what did you do today? Who did you talk to? Where did you go? What did you do?" And finally, like I told them one day that I was going to church--I was going to Macedonia, to church, and they were like, "Well, you've got all their votes. Why do you need to go there?" I said, "Because I needed a break. I need relief. I just need to let go, you know, to--to let--let it all out." It was twenty-four seven, for several weeks. But, the--you know, the campaign was successful. Um, I did win the '99 race by a wider margin than anybody really suspected at that time, and, um, became the first African American female judge in Fayette County. Um, there were a lot of people, again, who questioned ho--what kind of judge I would be, or whether I would be a good judge, but this 01:05:00was my passion and this was my dream, and it had finally been realized. And so the question then became, okay, so now what? Like, now what are you going to do? You've now become a judge, so, are you done? (laughs) And I was like, are you kidding? Of course, I was at the, you know, bottom of the judicial hierarchy, and my goal was al--always to, I don't know, be on the US Supreme Court. Like, why not, you know? (laughs)
ARD: Um, let's talk a little bit more about that first contested election campaign.
ARD: Um, you mentioned that people said that it was because you were a woman,you were African American--
ARD: --you were this, you were that. So do you feel like race or gender reallyplayed a significant role, or were those just kind of naysayers on the sidelines?
GOODWINE: Did race and gender play a role in what?
ARD: In how you campaigned, or how your opponent campaigned, on your opponent's campaign?01:06:00
GOODWINE: Well, as I was told by my advisors, politics is a very dirty game,um, and they told me--they said, "You can choose to run your campaign however you want," and their advice was to stay focused on me, and to stay focused on why I wanted to be a judge. It didn't matter who was in the race, it didn't matter what they said about me in the race. Um, there were, uh, four females and five males, so I was one of four females. Um, the--the person who was deemed to be the frontrunner--even though I was the incumbent, I was told I 01:07:00didn't have a chance, because one of my opponents was from a political family, and was from a political Democrat family who had their--who was in the Patton, you know, circles, if you will. Um, opponent number two was from a political family from western Kentucky, who had money. And so they said, "Although you're the incumbent, and you have that going for you, they've got the family backing, they've got the money, they've got all of that, and so the odds are against you winning this election." And, the fourth female, they said, was put in the race as a decoy, I guess, if you will--she was African American, and the thought was she would split the vote, or she would lure, you know, voters away from me. But 01:08:00there was a lot of talk and strategy going on, um, in that election, and again, I just tried to stay focused on me, and stay positive on what I wanted. By the time this happened, I had already been a hearing officer with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, I was obviously older, um, I had some experience adjudicating cases, which separated me out from the pack, not to mention the fact I was doing the job. And, um, so as I indicated, I finished first. The person who was supposed to win finished second, and then the second person finished third. Um, of course, I was very elated, and they said, you know, you've now set the standard. You've set the mark for yourself going forward, meaning, that if you continue to want to move up, and you run another campaign, you probably won't have nine opponents. You may have one--(laughs)--but you 01:09:00probably won't have nine. Um, and so, it was a very eye-opening experience. Um, I did it the old-fashioned way. I mean, I, I knocked on doors, I shook hands, I was--everybody thought there was two or three of me, because I was everywhere. I went to four churches on one Sunday. Um, but that's how my advisors said I needed to do it, because I didn't have money for TV, and I didn't have money for a lot of those media, um, outlets that my opponents had, so that's what I had to do.
ARD: You keep mentioning your advisors. Are--is there one or two, uh, peoplethat really stood out as kind of the guiding forces, uh, mentors, that kind of helped teach you how to campaign?
GOODWINE: Governor Breathitt, and it--he--he--Governor Breathitt was, one, sodown to earth, and he said, "You know what you want. This is your dream. I'm 01:10:00just going to help you get it." And again, he took me by the hand, and he introduced me to, to several people, he said--and he announced my candidacy in, in the media. He said, "We're going to have a press conference, and I'm going to be standing right there," because I was like, "A press conference?" You know, and he said, "Yes, we've got to get this out, and I'm going to be standing right there." It was over at the Government Center. Governor Breathitt was a resident of Hopkinsville, but he said, "I'm going to change my -----------(??) residency so I can vote for you." Um, former, uh, Fayette circuit judge Mitch Meade--Judge Jim Keller, um, was also, um, an advisor. Judge Gary Payne, obviously. But--but one of the people whose campaigns I got involved with early on was Representative Jesse Crenshaw. Um, and he taught me that hands-on, you 01:11:00know, door to door campaign, you know--if you don't have money, this is what you have to do. Um, and, um, so those, those were my inner circles, and of course had volunteers, um, that I had met throughout the community, that worked with me as well.
ARD: That's wonderful. I'm sure having Governor Breathitt as a mentor was--
GOODWINE: Oh, it was, it was--he was so down to earth. He was so, um,receptive. I mean, and he even walked with me, and campaigned with me, um, and said, um, "to know what you want"--you know, and he talked about, you know, becoming Governor, and he said, "to know what you want and to want it with a passion"--and he knew my story. He knew what I had been through. He knew the serious obstacles that I had been through, and he said, "to overcome that, and 01:12:00to not give in, and simply collect Social Security disability." Um, just really, um, hit home with him, and, he was just such a vital part of--of my campaign, and in fact, there was headlines, when he changed his residency--(laughs)--from Hopkins County to Fayette County, so--and he said, "I'm doing it so I can vote for Pam," um, which is priceless. It really was.
ARD: Well, let's talk a little bit about your judgeship.
ARD: Um, obviously, you've been on the bench for quite a while.
ARD: Uh, what, uh, is one of the most memorable cases to date that you havepresided over?
GOODWINE: Oh, my goodness. Hm. Well, that's difficult--memorable in the senseof--I mean, I think there's different memory. Like, there's a case that's memorable in the sense that I was able to make a difference in someone's life, 01:13:00and then there's memorable in the sense of my first death penalty case, and I've tried more death penalty cases than any sitting judge in Fayette Cou--in the state of Kentucky. Um, there's some that haven't tried any, and I'm getting ready to try my eighth or ninth, I think, um, just is the years that I've been on the circuit court bench. But there was one case, um, that involved four co-defendants. One was female. The female's involvement was pretty minimal, but she was charged along with the others. And, when--when--it was robbery first, and I think--I think, I think there was an assault. I think the victim was killed. The other three defendants, I wasn't real concerned about, but for her, she was charged with robbery first, complicity in some other things--she was deemed to be the lookout. And so we get to instructions, and, um, you know, 01:14:00her, her attorney, I'm arguing--well, there's no way they're going to convict her of robbery first. This is all or nothing. Why do you want--because they were arguing to me to include a lesser included--to give the jury an option of a misdemeanor. And--and I said, "Why are you arguing that? I mean, it's all or nothing. They surely won't believe that she knew about this, and, and, well, surely won't--" but, you know, I was just sure they weren't going to convict her. So, of course, as you can--(laughs)--imagine, they do convict her, and it's--they convict her of an offense for which I can't probate her. She's got three small kids, and--so when they convict her, I've got to remand her to custody, um, and she's--I mean, she's just devastated. And so, the--her attorney and the prosecutor and I meet afterwards, and, and I said, "This is just injustice. She--you know, her role in this was so minuscule that this is 01:15:00just not--she cannot go to prison for fifteen years when all she did was stand in front of a door, not--" and I really believed she was naive, that she really did not know what was going down. And so, I--I finally thought (??), well, we've got to do something. And, so I--her attorney--I said--I told the Commonwealth--I said, "He needs to file for a new trial, and if he does that, I'm going to grant it. I'm going to--we're going to try her again." And I said, "If you don't want this to go to trial," I said, "then you all need to work this out. And, let her either plead to something that was more in tune with what her role in this was, um, or we're going, we're going to try it again just with her." And so, he filed a motion for a new trial, I granted the motion, and before the new trial--before her new trial, the Commonwealth offered her a misdemeanor plea, and she took the misdemeanor plea, and I probated her. 01:16:00It was a two--twelve-month sentence that I could probate for two years, and I probated her sentence, and she said, "Judge, you will never see me again." She said, "I'm--when my two years is up, I'm going to expunge--have my record expunged, I'm going to go to college, and I'm going to raise my kids." And so, she--I probated her, never had an ounce of trouble out of her on probation. About five years later, I ran into her on the street. Um, it was in a beauty salon, or somewhere. And she--I didn't recognize her, but she recognized me, and she came up to me, and she said, "You don't know--I don't think you recognize me, but I'm so and so." And I looked at her, and she says, "I just graduated from college." And she said, "I will never, ever forget the fact that you gave me a chance." And, and I mean, to make that kind of a difference--and knowing that that first decision was wrong, and to actually be willing to do 01:17:00something about it, meant the world to me, and--and the fact that it was the right thing to do, because she really took advantage of that, and, and made a difference.
ARD: Thank you. We're almost done.
GOODWINE: (laughs) Okay. Oh, no problem.
ARD: (laughs) And, you talked a lot about your community involvement, and howthat was really important for you. You mentioned that you were on the Kentucky Commission--
GOODWINE: --Commission on Human Rights, um-hm--
ARD: --on Human Rights. If you'll just talk very briefly about that experience.
GOODWINE: That was very, um, rewarding. I started out as a hearing officer,um, and eventually became head of the commission. Um, the experiences, um, the things that I witnessed, the discrimination, um, that came before that agency, um, was very eye-opening, and then, again, as a hearing officer, got to hear 01:18:00both sides, got to make some decisions, which was--which was a great foundation for me to then go and, you know, to become a judge after that, and to take those skills from being a hearing officer. And I think that's really what separated me from my opponents in that first race. I, I served in that capacity, I think, for about five years, but I, again, went from the hearing officer to, um, president of the Commission, and, um--very rewarding, very rewarding experience.
ARD: Good. Well, um, with your tenacity, and your competitive spirit, I, um,wonder if it would surprise you to hear that the number of African Americans in the legal field has remained relatively unchanged.
GOODWINE: Um-hm. Um-hm.
ARD: Why do you think that is?
GOODWINE: (sighs) One, it's a difficult profession. It's a profession that is01:19:00(pause) (sighs)--I guess when people don't know what they want to do with their lives, they go to law school. I found that out when I was in law school. I'm not ready to go to work, so I went to law school. Or, I'm not ready to get a real job, so I'm going to law school--which offended me, number one, because I'm paying to--(laughs)--go to law school, and I want to be a judge, and I guess I had my whole career path planned. Um, I guess people not deciding what they want to do--I want--I--I am--I have been trying to get other African Americans interested in following me, you know, take--taking my path. I want to move up--I want to go to the Court of Appeals, I want to go to the Supreme Court, but I want--I don't--you know, there's no other African American judges here in 01:20:00Fayette County right now, so I--I'm like, who is going to take my place? Um, and so I've been trying to, um, recruit, if you will, other African American attorneys to pursue the bench, and other African American students to pursue a legal career, but not just for the sake of pursuing it. There are very few jobs. It's a--you know, the--the legal profession is saturated, and so there are very few jobs, and African Americans are afraid that, one, um, they can't pay for college, they can't pay for law school, and if they do borrow the money, there won't be a job waiting for them to pay for that when they get out. And it's just not African Americans--there are--I mean, there are non-African American law students, and law graduates, who don't have jobs. And it's very disheartening, um, but the legal profession is very saturated. And so it's not luring--it's not appealing to someone to spend that time and effort. They tell 01:21:00me they don't want to pursue the bench, because one, it is very political. It's very costly. Both of my campaigns cost well in excess of a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, and that's just the nature of the beast. Um, you can't become a judge without the process. Now, there are those who have become a judge without opposition, and so they haven't had to spend that money, but that's what's keeping other African Americans, I think, away from the bench, is having to go through that process, and if you talk to Olu, Stevens, and Brian, I'm sure they've told you the same thing. We've had this discussion, um, that that's just what it takes in order to--to get to that level.
ARD: What do you think, um, can help that process improve?01:22:00
GOODWINE: The cost of it, or just encouraging other--
ARD: --encouraging others--
GOODWINE: Um, well, me talking to them--those of us who are on the benchcontinuing, I think, um, to talk to them. Um, however, I'm finding that--I wouldn't recommend this job for someone who doesn't want it. I--we made that mistake, and we tried to get a candidate just because they were African American to run for the bench. And she didn't want it. I mean, she was just doing it, going through the motions. Well, that's not going to work. It took--I mean, I wanted this more than anything else in the world, and it took every ounce of energy, you know--sleepless nights, nights crying, nights saying, "I can't do this anymore--there's only twenty-four hours in a day." It was very 01:23:00difficult--and this was a dream. And so for someone who doesn't have that passion for it, they don't want to go through that, you know. Plus, I was single, um, when I went through it in '99. In 2003, I was married, but in 1999, I was single, um, and so I didn't have to deal with a husband and a child and that sort of thing. Um, it's--it's very, very difficult for, um, African American--particularly females--to find that balance between family life and--and work life, particularly, one, if they're an attorney who's trying to make partner, because of the demands on them, um, or if they want to pursue the bench, to be able to do that and still, you know, find that balance between work life and family life.
ARD: If you were talking to a younger version of yourself, what one piece ofadvice would you give yourself? 01:24:00
GOODWINE: Follow your dream, no matter what. And when I speak to elemen--Ispeak to kindergarteners, I speak to college students, I speak to anybody who will listen to me share my story--is that a dream is a powerful thing, and following your dream, despite the odds, despite the obstacles, um, is something that you--you follow it, and you figure out what your dream is. Don't let anybody else tell what that is, um, and nothing will keep you from that. If the, if the doctors were right, I would be in a hospital bed somewhere on Social Security disability. I'm--I've got Crohn's disease. I'm not disabled. I've never been disabled. Well, I was for a short period of time, but, I refused to let that be my destiny. Um, and particularly when my parents weren't here, and 01:25:00I felt like I had to--not that I had to make them proud of me, because I think they were proud of me when I graduated from high school, but they knew what my dream was, and they wanted me to fulfill that dream no matter what. And they always taught us, be responsible for your own actions. No one else controls your destiny. No one else can tell you what you can or cannot do. You have to be responsible for the path that you take. And, with those thoughts in mind, I was like, I'm just sick. That doesn't--I'm not dead yet. (laughs) And if I don't--and in fact, when I had that conversation with my family, I said, "If I wake up, then I know God has a plan for me. I know that this isn't how it's supposed to end." Um, there's a couple things I want to share. One is my search for my biological family. Um, I was thirty-one, and again, when I found 01:26:00out this was hereditary, I began that search. Um, I was adopted in an era where adoption records were sealed and were private, and there was no way you could get them open. Um, my parents' oldest child, um, told me that she would consult an attorney to see how to go about doing that, how to get my adoption records opened. And I said okay, and again, I don't know exactly what happened, but I got a call one day from an attorney who said, "I'm sending you these papers, but you don't know how you got them." So, I don't know what he did. And I had a name. Um, she was in Youngstown. Come to find out, I went to high school with my half-sister, um, and it was very emotional. Um, there was this big NBC 01:27:00channel whatever it is in Youngstown, review--you know, that--you're a poor thing, and the reuniting thing, and, um--she was elated. My biological mom was elated. Um, I was very disturbed, at first, because I was thirty-one. It had been, you know, over ten years since I buried my parents, and here was this woman who wanted to be Mommy. You know--in fact, she says, "I'm your mom, and oh, you're my baby, and oh, we're going to have a wonderful life," and, you know. I'm like, uh, I'm thirty-one, lady. You know? I've been to hell and back by now, and I just want to know if you have Crohn's disease--(laughs)--or if anybody in your family has a history of gastrointestinal problems. And so, once we got--we--so, of course I was cordial during that whole interview, and 01:28:00then I basically sat down and said, "Here's what I want. I want information. I'm too old to be your daughter. I'm too old to be the baby you gave up in, you know, 1960." I was very, um, honest. Um, and I didn't want someone taking my parents' place, because my parents made sacrifices that obviously, she couldn't make. And, the first time she said "those people," I thought I was going to wring her neck. Um, we--we had a very difficult beginning. Um, I'm happy to say that since then, we have established a relationship, and communicate on a regular basis. One of my real concerns was, now I'm going to have to bury her 01:29:00someday. She is ill, you know--she's got some health issues. Um, and it's just my sister and I--my half-sister and I. And so, concerned about those issues--her side of the family had no gastrointestinal issues, or no problems--issues with Crohn's. And, she knew my father's name, and she knew a little bit about him, and she said, "If you want to find him, that's up to you." And I said, this was far more emotional than I had imagined, and I'm not about to go through this again, so I did not--that's when I decided not to have children. And I said, I--we'll just stop this here. And I never pursued my biological father. But, again, have maintained a relationship with my mom and my half-sister.
ARD: Is there anything else that you want to share before we conclude?
GOODWINE: Um, I just--as you can tell, I'm a very positive person. I believe01:30:00in encouraging everyone, no matter where they are in life--I don't care how old they are, I don't care how young they are--that their dreams are attainable. Um, obstacles are just that--they're obstacles. They're just stuff in the way. Um, you can step over them, you can climb over them. You can truly overcome, um, whatever that is, and go on to be who you want to be. Um, and that thought process and that mindset have made me, I think, a better person, because nothing bothers me. Nothing--my husband's like, "Really?" (laughs) I'm like, no, nothing bothers me. Um, and I just--I share my story. It's very personal, but I think by sharing it, I give hope to someone out there who may be listening, or 01:31:00who may hear it, to believe that no matter what has happened in their lives, that they can achieve and be and become whatever it is they want to be and become.
ARD: Thank you very much.
GOODWINE: Thank you.
ARD: Wow. I want to hug you.
[End of interview.]