Bigoted Judge can’t stand the idea of gay adoption

Mitchell Nance, a family court judge in Barren and Metcalfe County (pictured), does not like the idea of gay adoption. He is so opposed to a “practicing homosexual” that he cannot preside over such a case.

Why? As a matter of conscience, the bigoted judge does not believe that an adoption by a “practicing homosexual” (he likes to use that word) could ever be in the best interest of a child. He also thinks that as this “may” constitute personal prejudice (it does — it’s bigotry), he has decided to recuse from these cases. He issued just such an order yesterday.

I’ve got a better idea for this judge: Resign. Today.

The Order of Bigotry

The 7th in Kentucky is ready for pre-order and a preview

The 7th in Kentucky, my new book, is ready for pre-order. It is 150-year look back at civil jury verdicts in Kentucky, going far back into the 19th century. It traces the development of the jury trial and looks at the interesting, the celebrated, the tragic and the strange. It is really an incredible story, covering the first super trial (1890), the first products liability case (1911), the first mass tort trial (1918) and then moving forward into the modern tort era. There’s a little bit of everything and its a must read for any trial lawyer or anybody that loves one.

And why the 7th? It’s for the 7th Amendment of course, the Constitutional right that guarantees a jury trial.
We have a preview of the book (10 pages) and a link to order online. The book ships in March.

The 7th in Kentucky (preview — link to PDF))
Pre-order the 7th in Kentucky online

Previewing the September 2016 Kentucky Trial Court Review Issue

Today we are previewing the September 2016 edition of the Kentucky Trial Court Review. That’s Volume 20, Edition 10 if you’re scoring at home.

The September Preview (3 pages in PDF)

The big case involves a $20,000,000 verdict from London that was returned last night. Hans Poppe (pictured for the plaintiff).

Skimming through the table of contents, you will note it was a ROUGH month generally for plaintiffs in med mal cases. A rough decade really.

Are you subscribing to the KTCR? Really? Now is the time to correct that. The summer sale is on through the end of the month. Save 30% on everything. Use the code Summer2016 at checkout.

The Online Store

Kim Davis Plaintiffs Have Sought an Award of Attorney Fees

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legalized gay marriage, Kim Davis (the Rowan County Clerk) made a unilateral decision to stop issuing marriage licenses to anyone. She barred all applicants.

The plaintiffs in Miller v. Davis (both same sex and straight couples) sued Davis for violating their rights. Davis lost at every turn and ultimately went to jail. The plaintiffs accrued attorney fees.

In a motion filed yesterday the plaintiffs have sought to recover those attorney fees from Davis. The plaintiffs have sought a total recover of $231,050. The motion is pending. We’ve got the complete motion.

The Kim Davis Motion for Attorney Fees (28 pages in PDF)

Davis is pictured with her husband and then Candidate Matt Bevin on the day she got out of jail. [She had been jailed for defying a court order.]

The summer sale at the KTCR is still on too. Save 30% on everything in the store. Renew your subscription even if its not due yet. We’ll advance it a year. Buy a book. Whatever. The code is Summer2016. Use the code at check-out.

The Secure Online KTCR Store

 

Gov. Bevin’s Plan to Fire the Entire U of L Board of Trustees Blocked by a Frankfort Judge

A month ago Gov. Bevin fired the entire U of L Board of Trustees and appointed his own brand new board. The new chairman was Junior Bridgeman. Bridgeman is pictured conferring with his boss, Gov. Bevin at Bridgeman’s first meeting on the board.

Bevin argued he alone had the power to fire the board at anytime and for any reason. There was no stopping him. In fact he could have fired his new U of L Board a week later. Or the UK Board. Or all the boards. He is the decider.

Attorney General Beshear challenged that authority.

Today a judge in Frankfort entered an injunction blocking Bevin’s plans. I had predicted earlier that this was the only rational result. The relief is prospective however so the actions of the Bevin Board are still valid. But they can’t do anything else.
It is not exactly clear what happens next. The Governor created quite a mess.
We’ve got the full opinion in the case (22 pages in PDF)

The Injunction Against Governor Bevin 

Update at 1:10 p.m.: There is very good news this afternoon for those who favored Bevin’s scheme. Bevin explains the ruling today will be reversed on appeal because the judge ignored precedent.

Restraining Order Issued against Gov. Bevin’s Plans to Blow up the Worker’s Comp Nominating Commission

A few weeks ago Gov. Matt Bevin announced plans to blow up the Worker’s Compensation Nominating Commission. He summarily dismissed all its members and appointed a brand new commission. It was called a reorganization.

What was the purpose of this? There was a perception the ALJs that had been appointed were too pro-worker and apparently hostile to the interests of big business. Bevin appointees will reorganize that balance . . .at least that is the thinking.

The fired members of the nominating commission as well as injured workers who consider themselves aggrieved by the Governor’s action filed a lawsuit yesterday in Franklin Circuit Court that alleges Bevin’s actions are unlawful. We wrote about that on May 20th in this post.

Today Judge Phillip Shepherd entered a temporary injunction against Gov. Bevin’s plans. He wrote that Bevin’s “primary purpose . . . is to implement a mass firing of Commissioners, rather than to accomplish a bona fide administrative regulation.

Read the order for yourself. We’ve got it exclusively.

Bevin Restrained

Gov. Bevin sued over his plan to reorganize the Worker’s Comp Nominating Commission

Gov. Bevin, by Executive Order, dismissed all members of the Worker’s Compensation Nominating Commission. All new members to be appointed. The old guys are sacked. While their terms (they were appointed by Gov. Beshear) have not expired, Bevin decided they are done.

Gov. Bevin

What’s the purpose of this? There was a perception the ALJs that had been appointed were too pro-worker and apparently hostile to the interests of big business. Bevin appointees will reorganize that balance . . .at least that is the thinking.

The fired members of the nominating commission as well as injured workers who consider themselves aggrieved by the Governor’s action filed a lawsuit yesterday in Franklin Circuit Court that alleges Bevin’s actions are unlawful.

We’ve got the lawsuit. It’s a good read. Eric Lamb of Lamb & Lamb in Louisville is counsel of record.

The Worker’s Compensation Lawsuit against Governor Bevin 

Super Sneak Preview of the May 2016 issue

We almost never do this. Post a full issue publicly. Well today we are doing it for a little while. Maybe until lunch time.

If you’ve never read the Kentucky Trial Court Review, here’s your chance. And you probably haven’t seen our new and improved look in 2016 with hyperlinks to the actual documents from the case. This is a good issue too with lots of interesting verdicts from all over Kentucky.

The Full May 2016 issue (13 pages in PDF)

Judicial Canons on Judicial Speech in Kentucky Struck Down

Yesterday Judge Amul Thapar (a federal judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky) gutted Kentucky’s judicial canons.

It is on. Judges can make political donations. They can denote themselves as conservative republicans, liberal democrats, idiots for Trump . . . whatever . . . they can do it.
Judges can now make political contributions.
Thapar ruled that while Kentucky can regulate its judges, the First Amendment requires that these regulations must be surgically precise.

This is a HUGE game-changer in political elections. And a smackdown to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Read the Thapar Opinion (43 pages in PDF)

 

High School Senior Project Revisits the Brenda Sue Schaefer Murder

This Spring a Louisville high school student, Paige Pence, prepared her senior project at St. Francis High School on the murder of Brenda Sue Schaefer by the infamous Mel Ignatow. Pence’s project carefully described not just the murder but the complex legal wranglings that followed.

That’s a pretty ordinary project on a subject that was well-covered in Bob Hill’s 1996 book, Double Jeopardy. However Pence has updated the story and provided original research with lawyers involved in the case, including with one of the prosecutors (a young Scott Cox) and Ignatow’s lawyer, Charles Ricketts.

If you haven’t read Hill’s book, Pence’s project is worth a read in understanding this crime and the complex legal aftermath. And if you have read it, Pence breaks new ground. We’re pleased to publish it here.

Pence (pictured) will attend Auburn University this fall and would like to attend law school.

The Pence Senior Project
The Pence Bibliography