Family Court Judge Kathy W. Stein Suspended for 1 Week for Misconduct

September 2016, Lexington, KY: The Judicial Conduct Commission suspended Fayette County judge Kathy W. Stein for one week, after findings of misconduct during an ex parte hearing where a mother unfairly lost custody of a child.

Judge Kathy W. Stein (courier-journal,

Judge Kathy W. Stein (courier-journal,

The suspension resulted after an ethics complaint, “According to the commission, Judge Kathy W. Stein was approached by Charles Joseph Schindler on Dec. 4, 2015. Schindler asked for an order granting him immediate temporary custody of the child.

Stein granted the order without a hearing or giving the mother, Carlie Simone Schindler (now Ambrose), an opportunity to respond, according to the commission.”

Judge Stein accepted the suspension and waived her right to formal proceedings. She will be suspended without pay from Sept. 28 through Oct. 4.

What is not being reported is that mother Carlie Simone Schindler (Ambrose) is a victim of domestic violence, and her child has witnessed or been a victim to abuse as well. Carlie has filed numerous protective orders against Charles Schindler. Carlie complained that Charles physically abused her, made threats of harm, and threatened to kidnap their child.

After Judge Stein gave custody to Charles through the emergency order, a telephone conference was arranged between the judge, Charles and his counsel, and officials from the school the child attended. Carlie was not notified or allowed to attend any part of proceedings. Charles was allowed to take the child from school. Judge Stein and parties decided to lie to the child, telling him he was going to a therapy session, so that the child would leave school more easily. Charles took the child and went to Mississippi. The child was only returned after a Court of Appeals ruling a month later. 

I cannot imagine what it must have been like to drop your child off at school only to discover that you have lost custody – the child is gone, and you do not know where but the person who now has custody has a history of violence, and has threatened to kidnap your child. The child also must have been terrified. This surely must have caused significant harm to the child – who was in therapy, and was vulnerable and likely suffering from the effects of abuse.

I applaud the Judicial Conduct Commission for taking action, and for holding Judge Stein accountable. However, a one week suspension is not enough for the egregious harm Judge Stein has caused. Any judge who would issue this kind of order is not fit to be on the bench – this ruling by Judge Stein shows a reckless disregard for the welfare of a child, a serious lack of judgment and a willingness to take the law into her own hands. 

Judge Stein should recuse herself from this case. There also needs to be a formal investigation of this case and the actions of Judge Stein by an independent agency, who exists outside of Fayette County to determine if other violations have occurred, and if the current custody or visitation order poses any risk of harm to mother or child. If other victims will step forward, there should be a way for other parents to issue a formal complaint.

Judge Stein is excusing her actions as a simple mistake. There are serious implications to her handling of this case and others – and it is my opinion that she should remain off the bench indefinitely, pending a formal investigation. Lives are at stake, this child could have been seriously harmed, Fayette County can not allow this to happen to another family. They have a responsibility to protect the public, and to ensure that Judge Stein is fully cooperating with the law.

What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below!

ANON COMMENT: “It was no mistake. Stein planned the whole thing. I have the letter that the child wrote to Stein right before the kidnapping. She begged Stein not to ever let Schindler (the dad) come near her. Stein gets a kick out of terrorizing people. There is also a video of Stein and Crystal Osborne laughing as they planned the call to the school…

COMMENT FROM P: “I have a girl friend who is in the middle of a divorce battle and Stein is the judge proceeding over the case. I have been a witness to the abuse my friend endured in the marriage and the crazy actions her (hopefully) soon to be ex husband has done. He has lied, stolen, and cheated throughout the divorce. I’ve seen all this first hand and Stein does nothing. I’m blown away! Stein’ conduct on the bench is shocking and at times I have questioned if she is hung over or drunk!


Read More:

Fayette Co. Family Court Judge Suspended

Fayette County judge suspended for a week for misconduct


About Emily Court

It takes "Just Us" To Fight Injustice in Family Court. I blog to raise awareness about problems existing in the family court system, and use my own story as a personal example of how the systemic failures in family court, and the Guardian ad Litem Program, affect families, in an effort to encourage needed reform. Written by a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness working to create a better life for her children, in a stable home free of violence. In her efforts to rebuild her life, she has not only encountered harassment and intimidation from her alleged abuser but faced systematic failures in family court that have empowered her alleged abuser and put her children at risk. She has spent over a decade trapped in family court until her children finally aged out of the system. Through writing and blogging, FCI is working to raise awareness about domestic violence, and the urgent need for family court reform. She is currently working on a memoir titled "'Til Prayers Are Answered".
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19 Responses to Family Court Judge Kathy W. Stein Suspended for 1 Week for Misconduct

  1. 1959gayle says:

    She needs to be REMOVED! Permanently!
    She’s CORRUPT!!

    • CM says:

      1959gayle says: I’m very curious who the mother, child & family are because I’m one of the lives that was ruined, no regards, DV victim, revictimized by the court Judge Kathy W. Stein to date never got him back…Since 2015 she took my child on false, bogus lies..I’m begging for someone to help me, do you know the attorneys involved, who represented Carlie Simone Schindler (now Ambrose). I only wish I had seen all of this when it happened. I filed complaints on her they sent them back…They know ppl that know ppl. All his criminal charges were dropped ETC

  2. Anonymous Attorney says:

    It was no mistake. Stein planned the whole thing. I have the letter that the child wrote to Stein right before the kidnapping. She begged Stein not to ever let Schindler (the dad) come near her. Stein gets a kick out of terrorizing people. There is also a video of Stein and Crystal Osborne laughing as they planned the call to the school.

    • Emily Court says:

      This is so disturbing… Judge Stein poses a danger to families and children. Her behavior is unethical and violates judicial standards. Stein should be removed from the bench.

      If you have any additional information that you want known, or have any other info, I can post here… or share links if you have your own social media sites. Please keep your privacy and safety in mind as well.

      • Pamela J says:

        There are judges like stein in U.K.

      • Mergeri says:

        Google Kentucky woman sues lover.
        Dr. Mark Kleinman paid Judge Stein hundreds of thousands of dollars to steal a child I read about online yesterday. My husband would never partake in such sorcery.

      • Emily Court says:

        Sept. 18, 2020. “Previously suspended Lexington judge accused of misconduct in convoluted custody case” (Lexington Herald Reader):

        Thanks for the heads up. There is a lot to this case involving Judge Kathy Stein!

        “A Fayette County family judge who has been suspended twice for not complying with the law or rules in custody cases has had another complaint filed against her with the Judicial Conduct Commission.

        Fayette Circuit Judge Kathy Stein’s actions in court were unfair and abusive, said Rhonda Lawson, a mother involved in an unusual custody battle over a child she had with Mark Kleinman, a married former University of Kentucky doctor.

        Stein awarded full custody to Kleinman after more than a year-long court battle that included allegations of elaborate deception and baby buying. The child lives with Kleinman, his wife and their children, according to court records…”

        Lawson and Kleinman were not married. Kleinman is married to someone else. Lawson accused him of lying throughout the relationship. Since the birth of the child, Lawson had retained custody of the children and was a primary caregiver. She has no prior complaint or involvement with CPS, no allegations of abuse of the child. Yet Judge Stein took this small child away from the mother and awarded sole custody to father. Her ruling was based on prior theft (5-10 years previous) charges against mother, and an ad for soliciting that occurred BEFORE the child’s birth. There have been no criminal issues since. It appears the mother is stable has a job and maintains a home, cares for other children.

        It sounds like Judge Stein is biased and making excuses for a married man to cheat on his wife: “His curriculum vitae was lengthy and impressive,” Stein wrote of Kleinman. “Evidence showed that the time Kleinman spent with Lawson was limited by his onerous schedule of surgeries, clinic coverage, charting, grant-writing and time spent with his wife and two children.”

        The father is accused of attempting to pay the mother to have an abortion after discovering she was pregnant. He also, allegedly, agreed to financially support the child if Lawson kept it a secret from his wife. The father Kleinman did, eventually, tell his wife and sought full custody. Kleinman denied all allegations, and says he did offer to adopt the child. Stein criticized Lawson’s history of performing sexual acts as an escort…but no comment on father Kleinman cheating on wife (it’s the same). Judge Stein’s comments on Lawson being financially motivated to make a financial settlement with Kleinman, implying she is selling her own child, also confusing because it also seems to implicate Kleinman in a criminal act. ???

        “Stein appeared to have a much higher opinion of Kleinman and his wife, who never made a court appearance for the custody case, according to court records…”
        Sounds like there is a lot more to this story… will try to stay updated.

    • C says:

      Im am currently in a similar situation. Crystal osborne is the other attorney… how may i contact you?

  3. P says:

    I have a girl friend who is in the middle of a divorce battle and Stein is the judge proceeding over the case. I have been a witness to the abuse my friend indured in the marriage and the crazy actions her (hopefully) soon to be ex husband has done. He has lied, stolen, and cheated throughout the divorce. I’ve seen all this first hand and Stein does nothing. I’m blown away! Stein’ conduct on the bench is shocking and at times I have questioned if she is hung over or drunk!

  4. Concerned Foster Parent says:

    Check out Courier Journal article “Kentucky blocks foster parent from taking in own nieces”. November 2, 2015. This was Judge Kathy Stein’s case.

    • Emily Court says:

      “As a state-approved foster parent for 16 years and a Kentucky government employee with a good job, Lorie Crawley believes she could provide a loving home and the best care for two young relatives, girls removed from a household disrupted by drug abuse and domestic violence.”

      “Yet Crawley said that even though she offered from the outset to care for the girls and is willing to adopt them, the state never seriously considered her and has refused to offer any explanation. ”

      “rawley said she has been shut out of the case and as a relative, has little access to information about what’s going on with the three girls, now ages 11, 7 and 16 months. But because the parents’ rights have been terminated, she assumes the cabinet is seeking an adoptive home for them.

      “All this could have been avoided if the children would have been placed with me in the first place,” she said

      Reporter Deborah Yetter can be reached at (502) 582-4228 or

      Ky. blocks foster parent from taking own nieces

  5. Truth says:

    Stein was a previous state senator, R, could that have influenced the slap on the wrist she received from a state-appointed committee? Otherwise ex parte communication is a violation of the Constitution of the United States via due process and should be punished in kind. It has been said that our judicial system was corrupt, the “punishment” lends itself to that statement.

  6. familycourtfemmesfightingcorruption says:

    The ex parte non-hearing and resulting temporary order and blanket “protective” order that goes with it occurred while I was at Texas Children’s Hospital getting a child sexual assault exam because I made the effort to believe my only child, my son (and I love how they plan to discredit you by calling it a “S.A.N.E.” exam), after making a non-police report in person at two different precincts, where they are trained not to take it and to disbelieve only (wo)man through ‘Crisis’ Intervention Training Grants (“CIT”), which report was then concealed and non-released, and after being forced to report it to CPS by my then five year-old son’s pediatrician who would not even see him, but made us both call CPS. Since my son wanted me to answer the phone to “Daddy” when we were at the hospital, I allowed my son to speak to his father to tell him that we were at the hospital when I was getting my son cleared for “visitation” after what the father and new stepmother had concocted with their private “play therapist,” yet who is licensed by DFPS/CPS. The father made a run for the courthouse, and I haven’t seen my son, meaningfully, or talked to him on telephone since May 8, 2012, as a direct result. These people are truly scum of the earth. How come there are so many? We are outnumbered by white collar criminals, everywhere. Am I supposed to be sorry that I listened to my son and was shocked and “disturbed” to hear what no mother should every be made to hear, and after he said the same sexually graphic, repulsive things to multiple police officers, EMS, his doctor, and CPS on the phone (and where every single one of them did not want to let him say anything without having CPS non-interview him first at the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston)? This has been the death of me, all for believing my child.

  7. Shay says:

    Yeah I agree she not appropriate to be a judge she handed people case the way she wants to do it she not affair judge at all she destroying​ people family cause watever the social worker wants her to do she does it whether it’s right or wrong she very unfair and she doesn’t had any feels buy trying reunited the children back to original parents if possible I also wonder my self if she under influence of alcohol cause she always look and act like she is and everyone​ goes in front​ of her it’s offered cause people complaints​ she disrespect and don’t care​ and parents comes out Court room crying cause seems like parents children’s r getting adoption or don’t get to had visited like they should. And she actually think it’s funny when parents Rights gets snatchin away or when parents kid’s gets adopted people that can’t had kid’s and I believe some parents case’s need to be checking into cause they adoption to many children.

  8. Shay says:

    And if u a parent without​ thousands of dollars den the court don’t want u have ur children’s that’s​ wrong​.

  9. NYC says:

    Dr. Mark Kleinman Ophthalmologist in Johnson City Tennessee at ETSU and Southeastern Retina has cheated on his wife for 10 years, had 6 affairs. the wife has no self respect as a female so she stays with the money of her cheating husband. Dr. Mark Kleinman had a baby with a woman Rhonda Lawson. The child named Kendin Lawson. They changed his name to Charlie to hide his identity. When the child gets older he will hate his father and abusive family for trying to buy him and stealing him from his real biological mother. The child will grow up to defend his mother 100%. I know, as a son, a man, with a strong mother, nobody will ever get my respect that tried to buy me and then stole me from my MOMS. Gtfoh

    • Emily Court says:

      NYC – So sorry for what you went through with an abusive parent and a family court that failed to protect you, and failed to ensure justice. I respect and applaud your efforts to be a better man, and to be a force for good in this world. You did not deserve what happened to you. Your comment is inspiring that children will one day see the truth, and escape from the abusive or dysfunctional parent. I wish you all the best!

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