Thursday, March 19, 2015

Letter to the Legislature from Herion Working Group

A group of legislators including John Tilley, Denny Butler, Mik Denham, Joni Jenkins, Tom Burch and Dennis Keene, along with the Catholic Conference of Kentucky and Right on Crime have sent a letter to Kentucky Legislators urging them to work together to pass a bill this session to address heroin issues.

Read the complete letter.

Monday, March 16, 2015

NKY judge accused of misconduct -

Charges filed by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission stem from an August incident in open court.

Campbell District Judge Gregory T. Popovich has been charged with misconduct by the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, and the veteran judge faces a hearing that could lead to possible sanctions or even removal from the bench.

The charges were filed in February but not made public until Wednesday, after Popovich's response was filed.

They stem from an incident in open court in August, when Popovich was locked in a tight re-election race with Assistant County Attorney Cameron J. Blau.

On Aug. 5, while hearing motions to suppress evidence in a traffic stop case, Popovich accused Blau of improperly assisting the defense attorney, the commission said. The incident was recorded on video.

"You stated in open court that your grounds for this accusation were based, in part, on ex-parte hearsay statements made to you by attorneys who were not involved in the case at social gatherings outside of court. When Defense Counsel denied receiving any improper assistance, you accused him of lying in front of his client," the commission wrote in its notice to Popovich.

Complete Article
Judicial Conduct Commission Docket Entries

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Federal lawsuit: KY. courts discriminate against addicts -

The 38-year-old Floyd nurse has filed a federal lawsuit in Pikeville in Eastern Kentucky, claiming that the Kentucky court system is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by prohibiting her use of medicine such as methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol.

"It keeps going on, and it's a huge mistake," said Watson's physician, Dr. Stephen Lamb, reached by phone Tuesday.

The complaint names the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts – claiming the court system's Monitored Conditional Release program has wrongfully interfered with the right of individuals to be treated by Kentucky physicians.
Complete Story


Friday, March 6, 2015

COA Juvenile - D.B. - Incompetent Witness

D.B. v. Commonwealth, 2013-CA-000818 (unpublished): 

The Court of Appeals reversed a juvenile sex offense adjudication finding that the juvenile court improperly admitted the child-complainant’s statements to the Children’s Advocacy Center therapist.  The Court held that under B.B. v. Commonwealth, 226 S.W.3d 47 (Ky. 2007) the statements of an incompetent witness are inadmissible. It was uncontested in this case that the complainant (a toddler) was incompetent to testify. The juvenile court had admitted the statements under the hearsay exception for statements made for purposes of medical treatment.

Contributed by Renee VandenWallBake

COA Juvenile - A.G. - Valid Court Order

A.G. v. Commonwealth, 2014-CA-000935 (motion to publish pending): 

The Court of Appeals reversed an order committing juvenile to the Cabinet for contempt of court finding that the court order was not a “valid court order” under MAM and KRS 610.010(11) because it was issued pre-adjudication.  The underlying charge was habitual truancy.

Contributed by Renee VandenWallBake

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

KYSC - Goodman - Double Jeopardy TBUT/Robbery

Steven Cole Goodman v.Commonwealth, 2013-SC-000813, rendered February 19, 2015, TO BE PUBLISHED, Affirmed in Part, Vacated in Part and Remanding

The Supreme Court vacated Goodman’s convictions of Theft by Unlawful Taking as he was also convicted of Robbery in relation to those victims and as theft is an element of Robbery, the dual convictions violated the Double Jeopardy clause and the lesser offense must fall.  The Court did uphold the concomitant convictions of Robbery in the First-degree and Assault in the First-degree, reasoning that each offense contained an element that the other did not, in accord with Blockburger v. United States.  Mr. Goodman’s thirty year sentence stands as the sentences assessed for the Theft convictions were to be served concurrent to the Robbery convictions.  

Contributed by Linda Horsman

Monday, March 2, 2015

KYSC - Martin - Unanimous Verdict

Joseph David Martin v. Commonwealth, Ky. Sup.  Ct., 2/19/15 Affirming in part, Reversing in part, Remanding - to be published

The Court remanded this case, and Mr. Martin’s 580 years sentence,  to the Henry Circuit Court for a new trial for numerous unpreserved unanimous verdict violations.  The Court found that both types of unanimity violations existed in this case; “one borne from indistinguishable instructions” and the “second type of unanimous-verdict violation, which arises when evidence adduced at trial presents the jury with multiple acts by the defendant that may satisfy a single general-verdict instruction.”  The Court held  “all unanimous-verdict violations constitute palpable error resulting in manifest injustice.” 

In addition there was instructional error by the trial court for failing to instruct the jury on the seventy (70) year statutory cap,  however the issue was not reviewable per Martin v. Commonwealth, 409 S.W.3d 340, 346 (Ky. 2013) (A separate case from the instant case) because the issue was not preserved. The Opinion however contained strong language regarding “the judge’s purposeful disregard of the sentencing-cap statute.” 

Jason Apollo Hart  of the Appeals Branch represented Mr. Martin on appeal.