Kentucky Court Report Unofficial blog of Kentucky Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions, minutes, argument calendars and news - maintained as a public service by Louisville injury attorney Michael Stevens with law firm of Isaacs and Isaacs
The jury is a powerful force in American and English jurisprudence.
The right to a jury of your peers is a Constitutional right that men and women have died to protect for centuries. One that some may not fully appreciate.
While reviewing audio tapes and literature of Moe Levine, a phenomenal personal injury and medical malpractice and negligence lawyer, who passed away nearly 50 years ago, I came upon some nuggets of wisdom.
One of these is on the value and function of a jury. He stated that jurors are not judges without robes but rather they as cumulative body reflect and speak in this case as the "conscience of the community". I liked that, but I wondered if that was the law in Kentucky.
And yes it is. Powerful language, and the recognition of a role that goes back hundreds of years.
As a Louisville Kentucky personal injury lawyer, retired soldier and military judge, I have a strong and pervasive belief and trust in juries. Twelve ordinary people assembled to render justice usually get it "right" and move beyond their individual prejudices and biases. The sum of the parts is always greater than the individuals.
The judicial decision regarding when to save the interpretative function for the court and when to delegate the interpretative function to the jury is crucial to the development of negligence law. The more judges take cases away from juries, the more the concepts of reasonable conduct, negligence and gross negligence become synonymous with the view of the judge or judges on that court. Likewise, the more the interpretative power is delegated to juries, the more these concepts become the aggregate of discrete findings by juries. See L. Green, Judge and Jury (1930). By delegating interpretation to a jury the judiciary allows current considerations of equity and common sense to modify what might otherwise become anachronistic principles. L. Green, supra, at 385-91. The role of the jury in interpreting the evidence and finding the ultimate facts [**5] is an American tradition so fundamental as to merit constitutional recognition. U.S. Const. Amend. VII; Ky. Const. Sec. 7. The conscience of the community speaks through the verdict of the jury, not the judge's view of the evidence. It may well be that deciding when to take a case away from the jury is a matter of degree, a line drawn in sand, but this is all the more reason why the judiciary should be careful not to overstep the line.
I try to post all positive stories on Louisville and Kentucky lawyers, whether personal injury attorneys, criminal lawyers, or just doing good stuff. Here is one by Andrew Wolfson on the "Dream Team" of Dathorne and Butler. But do they have to look so tuff in their photo? Just kidding, guys.
"Alex Dathorne and Brian Butler have won defense verdicts for some of the biggest cases in recent years, including the Jason Stinson trial. The two now face a challenge of the defense of Michael Bishop, the man charged with shooting 12-year-old Jacob Eberle in the back as the boy and other children were running from Bishop's house after ringing his doorbell as part of a game."
See, also the following story on one of the Dream Team's current criminal cases in the news:
Defense attorneys for Michael Bishop, the man charged with shooting and wounding a 12-year-old boy in the Glenmary neighborhood, will ask a judge on Monday to delay his March 5 trial, saying a plea agreement may soon be reached.
Why is it that some stories in the news should not be stories but they are. An agreeent with a hospital and a health insurer should be a 'non'news item, but it is because of the history involving these two health giants in Louisville, Kentucky.
The good news is that insureds need not be as concerned about receiving medical care AND getting it paid. For those of us practicing personal injury law can breathe a sigh of relief for those who have been injured in accidents who seek medical care.
Think about it.... Injured due to the negligence of others (whether a car or trucking accident) and only $10,000 in personal injury protection benefits for wage loss and medical bills. You have insurance and may be off work with no income now. Add the heavy burden of worrying about your treatment and whether or not you are in network and your health carrier paying the bills.
This agreement is one one of those stories in which many policy holders who are pending a personal injury claim and need treatment have one less worry off the table.
Bill Sharp, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney in Louisville, "representing a group of Amish men says it was “unnecessary” for a western Kentucky judge to send the men to jail for refusing to pay recent traffic fines when they have a case on appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court."
NOTE: Is it me or does it seems courage of convictions with some bright moments for Kentucky lawyers and judges keep popping up in the news lately. First, Judge Shepherd goes to bat for abused children and takes a stand against the state, and now we have Louisville, Kentucky lawyer taking on the state regarding the traffic laws and Amish buggies. A second tip of the hat today.
However, another story in the Courier-Journal presents a contrasting concern which places the safety of children to the forefront. Remember, two separate issues in the story above - the appeal of the substantive traffic charges and fines vs. incarceration pending the appeal.
"In a sharply critical decision, a judge has ordered a state agency to pay $16,550 in fines and $56,663 in legal costs to three newspapers for illegally withholding public records involving child abuse deaths and serious injuries.Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd also rejected efforts by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to heavily redact, or remove, information from such documents. He said the cabinet was continuing its “efforts to blanket the operation of the child welfare system under a veil of secrecy.”"
NOTE: Have you ever noticed that Franklin County puts out some pretty good jurists? Wow. Judge Shepherd is making the hard decisions here with clarity of purpose and a conviction of what is right. Remember you heard it here first, but this guy should be considered down the road for a Court of Appeals, or better yet a Kentucky Supreme Court seat on the bench. Mark my words. An appellate judge needs more than a good head full of sound reasoning, but a heart for what is right and the courage and decency to act upon his or her beliefs.
First, the small and buried paragraph about the MSD's financial advisor who had been dismissed for a "conflict of interest" in reaping profits on various investment transactions makes no mention of what action is being taken against the advisor who financially profited from those transactions other than his termination.
A conflict of interest costs a public agency millions of dollars.
Any chance of recouping the profit the advisor made by benefitting from those "recommendations" presumably made under the appearance of objectivity?
And, if the disclosure of the conflict was made, then what action should be taken against those in authority for permitting it? Just wonderin'. Here's the paragraph. You decide for yourself.
Heitzman announced that staff was also developing a request for proposals for a new financial adviser for the agency, which has an operating budget of $110 million and a capital budget this year of more than $200 million. The current adviser, Warren White, was found by the auditor’s office to have a conflict of interest by making recommendations on where to invest hundreds of millions of dollars, then collecting millions of dollars on fees on the profits of those investments.
Second, what about that sweetheart trust set up to continue keeping the Executive Director's interest and employment as MSD but which allowed these transactions and money leaks to continue during his watch. And now, he is retained at full salary as an adviser. Some trust.
Heitzman also said he has decided that former Executive Director Bud Schardein will retain his full salary of $181,000 as an adviser until he retires this spring. He said he has not decided when that retirement would occur, but that it would likely be by April 1.
He said Schardein is working every day and has been helping with the transition.
Heitzman said he has withheld the final $40,000 payment in what was to be a $200,000 trust fund established for Schardein. Heitzman said he’s reviewing that decision with Purifoy.
Am I the only one just a little dismayed that those placed in a public trust are allowed to profit from abuses of that trust without any steps to dislodge those ill-gotten gains?
Folks are out of work, the state is scrutinizing the unemployeds' claims for unemployment benefits, and millions of dollars are left to leak out with nary an attempt to say "wait a minute buddy".
A former employee of the Jefferson County Clerk's office has filed suit against County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw and the office, claiming she was wrongfully terminated after she complained about being sexually harassed and reported inappropriate activity.
The Metropolitan Sewer District board on Monday moved to sever ties with its longtime private attorney, Larry Zielke, who according to a blistering state audit released last month had amassed too much authority over the public institution.