Ky court of appeals decisions

Ky court of appeals decisions DEFAULT


This archive contains those briefs submitted to the Kentucky Supreme Court in cases decided since January 1999 and Kentucky Court of Appeals in cases decided since October 2005.

Accepted for Oral Argument

Justice Donald C. Wintersheimer Digital Collection

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Many thanks to the Kentucky Supreme Court and Court of Appeals for their kind cooperation in this project, and special thanks to Kurt X. Metzmeier of the University of Louisville Law Library and Jeremy Berberich for helping to get this project off of the ground.

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Appellate Court Districts

The Kentucky Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in Kentucky. Prior to a 1975 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that created the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in the state.[1]

The court consists of 14 members who serve eight-year terms. The court hears cases normally in three-judge panels, with membership in the panels rotating so all judges sit on at least one panel with each of their colleagues every year. The court is headquartered in Frankfort, Kentucky, but the three-judge panels hear cases in courtrooms throughout the state.[1]

  • Published opinions of the Kentucky Court of Appeals can be foundhere.


Chief judge

The 14 members of the Kentucky Court of Appeals select one colleague to serve as chief judge for a four-year term. The chief judge assigns judges to their panels and designates cases for each panel.


The Kentucky Court of Appeals hears appeals from the district and circuit courts in Kentucky. When losing parties are unsatisfied with the trial court's decision, they can seek a review of the lower court's decisions from the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Cases are not retried by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, instead the original trial is reviewed and attorneys present legal issues to the court for a decision.[1]

Child custody and property rights decisions in divorce cases may be appealed, however, criminal case acquittals and divorces cannot. Cases involving death sentences, life imprisonment, or imprisonment of 20 or more years are appealed directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Original actions can be filed with the Kentucky Court of Appeals under certain situations.[1]

Court of Appeals District Counties Served
First District Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman, Fulton, Graves, McCracken, Calloway, Marshall, Livingston, Crittenden, Lyon, Caldwell, Trigg, Webster, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Butler, Edmonson, Christian, Todd, Logan, Simpson and Allen
Second District Union, Henderson, Daviess, Hancock, Ohio, Breckinridge, Meade, Bullitt, Hardin, Grayson, Larue, Hart, Warren and Barren
Third District Nelson, Washington, Marion, Green, Taylor, Casey, Adair, Metcalfe, Russell, Monroe, Cumberland, Clinton, Lincoln, Garrard, Rockcastle, Jackson, Lee, Estill, Pulaski, Laurel, Clay, Leslie, Wayne, McCreary, Whitley, Knox and Bell
Fourth District Jefferson
Fifth District Anderson, Franklin, Scott, Woodford, Fayette, Bourbon, Mercer, Boyle, Jessamine, Clark and Madison
Sixth District Oldham, Trimble, Carroll, Gallatin, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Spencer, Shelby, Henry, Owen, Grant, Harrison, Bracken, Mason, Robertson, Nicholas, Fleming, Bath and Lewis
Seventh District Montgomery, Powell, Menifee, Rowan, Carter, Greenup, Elliott, Boyd, Lawrence, Wolfe, Morgan, Magoffin, Johnson, Martin, Floyd, Owsley, Breathitt, Perry, Knott, Pike, Harlan, Letcher

Judicial selection

Two members are selected from each of the seven appellate court districts. Prior to 1976, judges were elected on a partisan ballot. A law passed in 1976 mandates that judicial elections in Kentucky be nonpartisan. According to the Kentucky Constitution: "All terms commence on the first Monday in January next succeeding the regular election for the office".[3]


To serve on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the judge must be:

  • a citizen of the United States,
  • a resident of both the Commonwealth, and of the district from which he is elected for two years next preceding his taking office,
  • licensed to practice law in the courts of the Commonwealth, and
  • a licensed attorney for at least eight years.[4][5][6]



See also: Kentucky intermediate appellate court elections, 2020

A special election was called for November 3, 2020, to replace former Judge Christopher Nickell, who was elected to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2019.[7] His term was set to expire on January 1, 2023.

Incumbent Chris McNeill won election in the special general election for Kentucky Court of Appeals 1st Division 1.


See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2018

Judges with expiring terms

This is a list of the judges who had to stand for election in 2018 in order to remain on the bench. Judges may choose not to stand for election or may retire. Non-incumbent candidates may file to run against incumbent judges in nonpartisan elections until the filing deadline has passed.

■Robert Johnson

Johnson lost his re-election bid to Pamela R. Goodwine in the general election on November 6, 2018.


See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2014
Unopposed  Judge Donna Dixon (1st District, 2nd Division)
2nd District, 2nd Division3rd District, 1st Division3rd District, 2nd Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
LambertJames LambertApprovedAYes70.0%   ApprovedA
HendersonPaul F. Henderson No30.0%   Red x.svgD
Unopposed  Judge Irv Maze (4th District, 1st Division)
Unopposed   Stan Whetzel (4th District, 2nd Division)
Unopposed  Judge Glenn Acree (5th District, 2nd Division)
6th District, 1st Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
JonesAllison JonesApprovedAYes60.8%   ApprovedA
SandersJustin Sanders No39.2%   Red x.svgD
Unopposed  Judge Joy A. Kramer (6th District, 2nd Division)
Unopposed  Judge Sara Combs (7th District, 1st Division)
7th District, 2nd Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
StumboJanet StumboApprovedAYes64.5%   ApprovedA
VarneyW. Kent Varney No35.5%   Red x.svgD


See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2012
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
MazeIrv Maze    No40%50.79%   
ShakeJim Shake    No38%49.21%   
Cox PenceRuth Ann Cox Pence    No22% 


The Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct sets forth ethical guidelines and principles for the conduct of judges and judicial candidates in Kentucky. It consists of five overarching canons:

  • Canon 1: A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
  • Canon 2: A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge's activities.
  • Canon 3: A judge shall conduct the judge's personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.
  • Canon 4: A judge shall so conduct the judge's extra-judicial activities as to minimize the risk of conflict with judicial obligations.
  • Canon 5: A judge or judicial candidate shall refrain from inappropriate political activity.[8][6]

The full text of the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here.

Removal of judges

Any judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals can be removed by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission. The commission is composed of the following:

Any individual or group may file a complaint against a sitting judge for possible judicial misconduct or wrongdoing.[10]

Alternatively, judges may also be impeached by the Kentucky House of Representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Kentucky Senate.[11]

Recent news

The link below is to the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms Kentucky Court of Appeals. These results are automatically generated from Google. Ballotpedia does not curate or endorse these articles.

State profile

USA Kentucky location map.svg
Demographic data for Kentucky
Total population:4,424,611316,515,021
Land area (sq mi):39,4863,531,905
Race and ethnicity**
Black/African American:7.9%12.6%
Native American:0.2%0.8%
Pacific Islander:0%0.2%
Two or more:2.1%3%
High school graduation rate:84.2%86.7%
College graduation rate:22.3%29.8%
Median household income:$43,740$53,889
Persons below poverty level:22.7%11.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "American Community Survey" (5-year estimates 2010-2015)
Click here for more information on the 2020 census and here for more on its impact on the redistricting process in Kentucky.
**Note: Percentages for race and ethnicity may add up to more than 100 percent because respondents may report more than one race and the Hispanic/Latino ethnicity may be selected in conjunction with any race. Read more about race and ethnicity in the census here.
See also: Presidential voting trends in Kentucky

Kentucky voted Republican in all five presidential elections between 2000 and 2016.

Pivot Counties (2016)

Ballotpedia identified 206 counties that voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for Barack Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012. Collectively, Trump won these Pivot Counties by more than 580,000 votes. Of these 206 counties, one is located in Kentucky, accounting for 0.5 percent of the total pivot counties.[12]

Pivot Counties (2020)

In 2020, Ballotpedia re-examined the 206 Pivot Counties to view their voting patterns following that year's presidential election. Ballotpedia defined those won by Trump won as Retained Pivot Counties and those won by Joe Biden (D) as Boomerang Pivot Counties. Nationwide, there were 181 Retained Pivot Counties and 25 Boomerang Pivot Counties. Kentucky had one Retained Pivot County, 0.55 percent of all Retained Pivot Counties.

More Kentucky coverage on Ballotpedia

See also

External links

  1. Court of Justice, "Kentucky Court of Appeals: About the Court of Appeals," accessed June 1, 2015
  2. This may vary for the chief judge.
  3. Kentucky Constitution, The Judicial Department, Section 119
  4. Kentucky Board of Elections, "Candidate Qualifications," accessed June 1, 2015
  5. Kentucky Legislature, "Kentucky Constitution, Section 122," accessed June 1, 2015
  6. 6.06.1Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributable to the original source.
  7. WHOP News Radio, "Area judge files for Kentucky Court of Appeals seat," January 7, 2020
  8. Kentucky Bar Association, "Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct," accessed June 1, 2015
  9. Kentucky Court of Justice, "Judicial Conduct Commission Members," accessed June 1, 2015
  10. Kentucky Court of Justice, "Judicial Complaint Form," accessed June 1, 2015
  11. National Center for State Courts, "Judicial selection-Removal of Judges," accessed June 1, 2015
  12. The raw data for this study was provided by Dave Leip of Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.
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Kentucky Resources


Court Records & Documents

  • Some Briefs and Trial Court Documents may be available on Westlaw.
  • CourtLink and  Briefs, Pleadings and Motions may be found on Lexis.
  • To locate state court materials not available within Westlaw, Lexis or Bloomberg Law, see Dockets & Court Documents page in our Briefs, Oral Arguments and Other Court Documents Research Guide.
  • Some state appellate courts may make recordings of oral arguments and hearings available on their web sites.
  • The Law Library's ILL Services, a library-to-library resource sharing service, does not order court materials that are held only by the court's clerk. Please contact the court directly for copies.

Court rules may be found in Westlaw under Statutes & Court Rules and Lexis' Court Rules. Court rules may also be found within the court's web site.
Court statistics may be found on the court's web page, published in the court's administrative office annual reports.

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