Thursday, 10 25, 2012
Leigh Anne Hiatt, APR
Public Information Officer
FRANKFORT, Ky., -- The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., met today in Burkesville, Ky., to choose three nominees to fill the vacant Circuit Court judgeship in the 40th Judicial Circuit. The 40th Circuit consists of Clinton, Cumberland and Monroe counties. The judicial vacancy was created by the passing of Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace on Sept. 17, 2012.
These three attorneys, all of whom reside in Burkesville, have been named as nominees to fill the vacancy:
Angela M. Capps. Capps is serving as the public defender for Clinton County. She holds a juris doctor from the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
Stephen Douglas Hurt. Hurt is serving as a senior judge after retiring as a district judge in 2009. He earned a juris doctor from the Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
David L. Williams. Williams is president of the Kentucky State Senate. He represents Senate District 16. He earned a juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
The person appointed to fill this vacancy will serve the two years remaining in the term of the late Judge Lovelace. If the appointee wishes to retain this seat, he or she must run for office in the next regularly scheduled election for circuit judges in 2014.
Judicial Nominating Process
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the Judicial Nominating Commission publishes a notice of vacancy in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys may recommend someone or nominate themselves. Once nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice. Chief Justice Minton then meets with the Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees, the number required by the Kentucky Constitution. A letter naming the three nominees is sent to Gov. Steve Beshear for review. The governor has 60 days to appoint a replacement and his office makes the announcement.
Makeup of the Judicial Nominating Commission
The Judicial Nominating Commission is established in the Kentucky Constitution (Ky. Const. § 118; SCR 6.000, et seq). The commission has seven members. They are the chief justice of Kentucky (who serves as chair), two lawyers elected by all the lawyers in their circuit/district and four Kentucky citizens who are appointed by the governor. The four citizens appointed by the governor must equally represent the two major political parties, so two must be Democrats and two must be Republicans. It is the commission’s responsibility to submit a list of three names to the governor and the governor must appoint a judge from this list of three.
Circuit judges serve eight-year terms. Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases. Family Court is a division of Circuit Court. In counties with a Family Court, the Family Court has primary jurisdiction in cases involving family issues, including divorces, adoption, child support, domestic violence and juvenile status offenses.