The note “See Ashley” appears regularly on matters of Divorce, Paternity, Protective Orders and, especially, Child in Need of Services cases in the Posey Circuit Court. When I see that directive from Court Reporter Ashley Thompson I get the same feeling I had whenever my mother would say, “James Marion Redwine …” Mom’s use of my full name always preceded bad news. When Ashley calls my attention to a situation it is not because things in a case are going well.
My four court reporters are prohibited by law from giving legal advice. However, almost every citizen who is in need of court services also needs legal advice and expects the court reporters to give it. We actually have public information papers that explain this dilemma to citizens who either voluntarily seek justice from the court or who are brought into the legal vortex by some other person or entity such as a former spouse, the Division of Family and Children’s Services or the Prosecuting Attorney’s office.
Ashley Thompson has been a court reporter for ten years. While she cannot practice law she can and does assist people who come into contact with the court. Most people do not see a trip to a court as something good. The legal process is often both bewildering and scary. It can also affect the most dearly cherished aspects of life such as one’s children or freedom. Ashley can and does carefully and gently explain the procedure as she refers citizens to attorneys who can provide legal advice. The court is not allowed to recommend specific lawyers but the court reporters do have general information on which attorneys might concentrate in certain areas.
Ashley and her husband Bryan Thompson have four children and their whole family is deeply involved in their Point Township Nazarene Church. Bryan is a lay minister who is working toward ordination. Ashley managed to care for her family, her job and her community while completing her bachelor’s degree from Oakland City University in 2015.
Bryan and Ashley’s daughter Cassandra will graduate from Western Kentucky University this year. Their daughter Emma will start the 8th grade at Mt. Vernon Junior High this fall and eleven year old Levi will be in the 6th grade. Emma and Levi are both soccer players and active members of their church.
Eighteen-year-old Luke Thompson just returned from a church mission trip to Honduras where he gave of his time and hard work to paint school classrooms, roof buildings and fill food bags for those in need.
Ashley’s parents, Dennis and Bobbette Marshall, are both police officers. She grew up with the legal system ingrained in all aspects of her life. Her public service in the court is a natural progression. Ashley is the volunteer secretary for the Mt. Vernon Soccer Booster Club. She was honored as the Business and Professional Women’s Woman of the Year in 2006. And to cleanse her mind of the flotsam and jetsam in the court, Ashley regularly runs half-marathons.
Ashley and Bryan lead the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course through their Nazarene church and provide volunteer marital counseling. Bryan also conducts a lay ministry at the Posey County jail.
Not all court contacts are traumatic. However, many of those who need the services over which Ashley has responsibility are embarrassed, confused and frightened. She can and does help assuage the pain. So, when citizens must “See Ashley” they need not feel as I often do.