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Susanne Cetrulo to be sworn in as Kentucky Court of Appeals judge Nov. 4; investiture is open to public

Susanne M. Cetrulo will be sworn in as a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Boone County Justice Center in Burlington.

Justice Michelle M. Keller, who serves Northern Kentucky on the Supreme Court of Kentucky, will swear her in.

The investiture will take place at 4 p.m. ET in Courtroom 4B. The public is invited to attend. Masks are recommended.

Cetrulo, who will be the newest Court of Appeals judge, was appointed by the governor Sept. 15 to serve the 6th Appellate District, Division 2, which is made up of the Commonwealth’s 21 northernmost counties. She was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Judge Joy A. Kramer, who retired Sept. 1.

Susanne Cetrulo

Cetrulo’s appointment brings her full circle, as her first law job was as a staff attorney for the Court of Appeals from 1984-1991, first for Chief Judge Charles Lester and then Judge Judy M. West.

She went on to spend 30 years in private practice and came to the Court of Appeals from the civil litigation law firm of Cetrulo, Mowery & Hicks, which she founded with her husband in 2000. Prior to establishing her own firm, Cetrulo practiced with Kohnen Patton & Hunt in Cincinnati, where she focused on medical malpractice defense. She then became a partner with Ware Bryson West & Kummer in Edgewood.

In addition to practicing civil litigation in Kentucky and Ohio, she was an adoption attorney in both states for over 30 years. She has finalized placements for more than 350 children and she and her husband are adoptive parents.

Cetrulo has been named one of the most prolific trial attorneys in Kentucky several times by the Kentucky Jury Verdict Reporter. She has presented on appellate advocacy and mediation skills at continuing legal education and new attorney events. She has also taught at the University of Cincinnati, authored several legal articles and presented at seminars on legal matters for the Kentucky and Ohio bar associations and several practice groups. She is a certified mediator and has performed mediations in Kentucky and Ohio, helping other attorneys resolve their client’s disputes.

She is on the scholarship committee for the Northern Kentucky Bar Association’s Judge Judy West Award. The association provides funds to a female student from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law each year in honor of Cetrulo’s mentor, Court of Appeals Judge Judy M. West, who passed away in 1991.

Cetrulo is a co-founder of Cameron’s Cause, a nonprofit organization that places automated external defibrillator in Northern Kentucky schools and businesses to prevent sudden cardiac death.

She previously served as a board member and volunteer for the Northern Kentucky Bar Associations’ women lawyers and mentoring programs. She has volunteered with Josh Cares, KAREFarm, the Citizen Foster Care Review Board, Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Diocesan Children’s Home and Dixie Heights High School Band. She served as a board member and volunteer with the Women’s Crisis Center of Northern Kentucky, IMPACT 100 and Immanuel United Methodist Church in Lakeside Park.
Cetrulo earned a juris doctor from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University.

Nearly all cases heard by the Kentucky Court of Appeals come to it on appeal from a lower court. If a case is tried in Circuit Court or District Court and the losing parties involved are not satisfied with the outcome, they may ask for a higher court to review the correctness of the trial court’s decision. Cases are not retried in the Court of Appeals. Only the record of the original court trial is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the court for a decision. Fourteen judges, two elected from seven appellate court districts, serve on the Court of Appeals. The judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority determining the decision. The panels do not sit permanently in one location, but travel throughout the state to hear cases.

Administrative Office of the Courts

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