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 Kentucky Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a case that
asks how much due process individuals deserve before they are branded
as child abusers, the Courier-Journal reports.
Unlike the sex-offender registries that every state makes available on
the Internet, child offender lists generally aren’t accessible to the
public. A person doesn’t have to be convicted or charged with a crime to
be listed. In Kentucky, people are placed on it because a social worker
substantiates an allegation of abuse or neglect, according to the
newspaper. A man identified by his initials, W.B., sued to challenge
the protocol, fearing that being listed would cost him his teaching
post. [from the Wall Street Journal]
The following news story from the Harlan Daily Enterprise is posted in its substantial entirety because the ramifications are signficant. A sitting judge, elected by the citizens, was removed by the SCOKY.
The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission’s decision to remove Harlan Circuit Court Judge Russell Alred from the bench.
The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this matter approximately three months ago. An order to remove Alred from the bench was handed down by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) on Sept. 20. That order is only the fourth such order issued since the JCC was established in the early 1980s.
The Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision, released on Monday, states that Alred was found guilty of judicial misconduct in nine out of 20 charges made by the JCC. The Supreme Court upheld the commission’s order on eight counts and reversed the commission’s decision on one count.
That count included, “on two occasions, Judge Alred questioned the principal of his children’s elementary school about why a certain defendant continued to work as a substitute teacher at the school while she had pending fraud charges in the Harlan Circuit Court.” The Kentucky Supreme Court stated that the commission’s findings regarding that count were erroneous because they are not supported by sufficient evidence.
The written decision also states “from our review of the record, it is clear that Judge Alred engaged in a pattern of misconduct, displaying disregard for the law and the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct. He continually refuses to accept responsibility for his actions or acknowledge his wrongdoing. Accordingly, we agree with the commission that there is good cause under section 121 of the Kentucky Constitution to remove Judge Alred from his judicial office for misconduct, as defined in the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct.”
The decision to remove Alred from office was not without opposition among members of the high court. Five members of the court, including Chief Justice John Minton, Justices Wil Schroder, Mary Noble, Lisabeth Hughes Abramson and Daniel J. Venters concurred with removing Alred from office.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/23/2267865/kentucky-supreme-court-upholds.html#storylink=cpy
Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham concurred in part and dissented in part.
Cunningham wrote “Judge Alred has not killed or physically injured anybody. He has not molested his secretary. He has not stolen a dime. In fact, he hasn’t even been charged with a crime of any kind — misdemeanor or felony. None of his friends or family members have gotten rich or gone free because of his missteps. He has not enriched himself financially nor engaged in any kind of debauchery.”
Cunningham stated he disagreed with removing Alred from office.
“I know that in the past, at least, we have had judges convicted of crimes continue to serve on the bench. Therefore, I concur in part and dissent strongly in part. I concur with the adept handling of constitutional issues by the Chief Justice. I dissent as to the penalty of removal from office, as well as our court’s treatment of some of the charges,” wrote Cunningham.
Justice Will T. Scott dissented along with Cunningham.
According to Leigh Ann Hiatt, Public Information Officer for the Administrative Office of the Courts, Alred will continue to receive pay and benefits until his removal from office becomes effective.
Alred’s attorney, Marcus Carey, explained during a telephone interview on Monday there are options available should Alred decide to pursue the matter further.
“The first option, which is pretty apparent, is to ask the court to reconsider,” said Carey. “There is the option to ask a federal court to review whether or not the actions of the state violated constitutional protections to which Judge Alred would’ve been entitled.”
Carey explained that it is not known at this time which, if any, options will be pursued.
“The opinion was rendered about five hours ago and I’ve only recently gotten a copy of it in my hands. I’ve reviewed it very briefly. I see a couple of things that are worthy of more careful scrutiny to determine what the best option would be,” said Carey.
According to Carey, there is a question of due process to be considered.
“When the Supreme Court rules, obviously we have to respect that ruling. But on the other hand, in the pages of their ruling, they have made some decisions which effect the due process rights of judges throughout Kentucky. The question becomes whether or not in this case seeking further review of their opinions is going to be warranted or not,” stated Carey.
In an interview conducted by telephone on Monday, Jeff Mando, attorney for the Commonwealth of Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, explained the options open to Alred may include the United States Supreme Court.
“Under the rules of civil procedure, he can file a petition for re-hearing with the Kentucky Supreme Court,” said Mando. “Once the (Kentucky) Supreme Court’s decision is final, he can petition the United States Supreme Court to look at the case.”
Mando explained the chances that the U.S. Supreme Court would accept the case, if it were to be submitted, are low.
“It’s statistically very difficult. They accept such a small percentage of cases that they are asked to review,” said Mando. “They generally don’t delve into matters of interpretation of state law.”
It will now be up to Gov. Steve Beshear to appoint an individual to fill the post of Harlan Circuit Court judge until the next election in 2014.
Alred could not be reached for comment.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or email@example.com
Several years ago, on my birthday, a son asked me to recount the greatest changes in my lifetime.
Changes that I never expected to see.
The answer was easy. The end of the Cold War and civil rights.
I grew up in the segregation days of the Jim Crow South. Whites and blacks were segregated, always separate. Separate public rest rooms and water fountains, separate seating at public events. I remember the “Whites Only” signs, separate entrances, and separate seating. Mixed marriages were forbidden by law. A mixed couple suffered being ostracized, seen together at their own physical risk.
And we had separate schools. In old Eddyville, the blacks lived in a section of town called “Freewill,” its name derived from the days of emancipation when the slaves were at liberty to live where they chose of their own “free will.” The descendants of former slaves went to their own little shabby school up at the end of the hollow. There, they matriculated through the first eight grades. I remember seeing inside my own textbooks, issued by the County Board of Education, a stamp which allowed a check mark for either “white” or “colored.”
When my “colored” contemporaries finished the eighth grade, they faced a hard choice. They could quit school and go to work. Or if they wished to continue with their education — and few of them did —the Board of Education would send them to the Lincoln Institute near Louisville. They would be given a bus ticket to the big city in the fall and a return ticket home for Christmas. The school board also paid for their lodging there.
It is all true. Yet today it seems unreal — like something I dreamed. To my children, it is incomprehensible.
Of course, all that changed after Martin Luther King Jr., arrived on the scene and began his grand march for civil rights. A few years ago, as we commemorated Martin Luther King’s birthday, I went to Paducah to walk in the MLK March sponsored by the local NAACP. It was a cold, but brilliantly sunny day. We marched from the Cherry Civic Center to the cemetery and placed a wreath on a monument. There were over 100 people on that trek.
Click on linked heading above for the rest of the post.
The Kentucky Supreme Court held earlier this year that a writ of prohibition was not an appropriate remedy to challenge a County Attorney’s use of documents incorrectly purporting to originate from a court to require persons named in a criminal complaint but not yet charged to attend a mediation prior to issuance of a warrant or summons.
In Minix v. Roberts, 350 S.W.3d 449 (Ky. 2011), the Court, while expressly disapproving of the practice, said relief by way of prohibition was not available to require the County Attorney to cease using emblems of the Court of Justice to require potential misdemeanants to attend mediation sessions, since a County Attorney is not a judicial officer. The Court suggested that the proper procedure to challenge such a practice would be to seek an injunction or file a declaratory judgment action. The Court concluded the opinion with a warning that the County Attorney should cease using judicial images on documents relating to the pre-warrant mediation program.
Click on linked heading above for the rest of the post.
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Supreme Court Justices Lisabeth Hughes Abramson and Wil Schroder and Court of Appeals Judges Denise G. Clayton and Thomas B. Wine recently met with a group of law school students who participate in the Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity Program. The Supreme Court hosted a luncheon for the KLEO scholars to gather with the justices and judges. The event took place July 13 in the Supreme Court Conference Room at the Capitol in Frankfort.
“I always enjoy meeting our future lawyers, these students who are motivated and up to the challenge and rigors of law school,” Justice Schroder said. “The KLEO Program gives them a glimpse of what to expect.”
The justices, judges and students discussed the law, law school and other issues at the luncheon. KLEO student mentors and law professor Allison Connelly, the statewide coordinator for the KLEO Program, also participated in the event. She is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Justice Abramson lauded the scholars and Connelly.
“The 2011 class of KLEO scholars, like the one before it, is an impressive gathering of promising young law students who will enhance the Kentucky bench and bar for years to come,” she said. “Professor Connelly’s dedication to their success as lawyers and as people is truly inspiring.”
Students who are accepted into the KLEO Program receive a scholarship to help with their legal education. The program is designed to assist historically underrepresented, low-income or educationally disadvantaged Kentucky residents who want to earn a law degree, are committed to public service and show potential for contributing to their law school community. All three Kentucky law schools participate in the program – the UK College of Law in Lexington, the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in Louisville and the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law in Highland Heights.
“Year after year the Court of Justice and Kentucky’s three law schools have demonstrated their unequivocal commitment to the KLEO Program and its scholars because KLEO works,” Connelly said. “KLEO is changing the face of justice in Kentucky. The law touches everyone and the KLEO Program helps to ensure that our law school classrooms reflect Kentucky’s diverse population.”
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Justice Bill Cunningham of the Supreme Court of Kentucky will host Court at the Cupboard, an event to educate the public about the court system, Friday, Aug. 12, at the Country Cupboard restaurant in Madisonville. A long-time advocate of helping citizens understand the state court system, Justice Cunningham is bringing together judges who represent Hopkins County at each level of the court system for the meeting. The gathering will take place from 8-10 a.m. CDT and include free coffee.
“For people to respect the court system, they need some understanding of it,” Justice Cunningham said. “The best way to understand it is to ask judges questions about it directly.”
In addition to Justice Cunningham, attendees will include Court of Appeals Judge Donna L. Dixon, Hopkins County Circuit Court Judge James Brantley, Hopkins County Family Court Judge Susan Wesley McClure and Hopkins County District Court Judges W. Logan Calvert and William R. Whitledge. Justice Cunningham and Judge Dixon represent Hopkins County and 23 other counties on their courts.
The event will give the public a rare opportunity to meet with the judges in a casual setting to talk about the legal system. The judges will be available to discuss and answer questions about cases that are final as well as legal issues and procedural matters but will not talk about pending cases.
“As far as I know, this is the first event of this nature in Hopkins County – the first time judges from every court level will be in the same room at the same time to answer questions and visit with the public,” Judge Brantley said.
The murder conviction of Antonio Bradley has been vacated and sent back to Jefferson Circuit Court after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled a judge should have thrown out Bradley's confession because police continued to interrogate him after he had asked for an attorney.
A Christians-only health care plan provides a “contract for
insurance” and doesn't qualify for exemption from state regulations, the
Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision that potentially
opens the plan to stricter regulation by the state