Judicial Conduct Commission

The Judicial Conduct Commission is the only entity authorized under the Kentucky Constitution to take disciplinary action against a sitting Kentucky judge. The JCC also has authority over trial commissioners, domestic relations commissioners, master commissioners and attorneys who are candidates for judicial office.

The JCC’s mission is to protect the public, to encourage judges, commissioners and candidates for judicial office to maintain high standards of conduct, and to promote public confidence in the integrity, independence, competence, and impartiality of the judiciary.

While the majority of Kentucky's judges are committed to maintaining the high standards expected of the judiciary, an effective method of imposing sanctions on judges who engage in misconduct or wrongdoing is essential to the efficient operation of the judicial system. JCC proceedings provide a fair and objective means to preserve the integrity of the judicial process.

Any individual or group with knowledge of possible judicial misconduct or wrongdoing may file a complaint. The commission has received complaints from litigants, attorneys, judges, jurors, citizens, court personnel and prisoners.

Operating under Supreme Court of Kentucky rules, the JCC investigates complaints of judicial misconduct, wrongdoing or disability. When needed, the JCC conducts hearings regarding the alleged misconduct. If an individual is found to have engaged in misconduct or be incapacitated, the JCC takes appropriate disciplinary action. Actions can include admonition, reprimand, suspension or removal from office.

Sanctions

Sanctions for misconduct range from confidential reprimands for minor technical violations to removal from office for major violations. Since its inception, the JCC's actions have resulted in removal from the bench, involuntarily retirement and public discipline. Many more have resulted in private discipline. The commission’s disciplinary actions are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of Kentucky on appeal.

How to File a Complaint

Complaints must be submitted in writing to the JCC. The complaint form is available in PDF format and is fillable online. You can then save and print the form and mail or email it to the JCC.

If you prefer to have a complaint form mailed to you, please call or email the JCC. Please include your name, mailing address and phone number in the request.

The JCC does not have the authority to review a case for judicial error or to direct a different result in a case. These functions are handled through the appeal process available through the appropriate appellate court. To attempt to change the outcome of your case, please discuss this with an attorney immediately.

Complaint Review Process

The JCC carefully reviews complaints to determine if they are within its jurisdiction. If a complaint is not within the JCC’s jurisdiction, it will be dismissed without further action.

When the JCC finds sufficient cause, it will conduct a preliminary investigation that may include a meeting with the judge who is the subject of the complaint. If the complaint is not resolved at this stage, the JCC may file formal charges against the judge and hold a fact-finding hearing. The JCC’s attorney presents the case at the hearing and the judge has the right to defend against the charges and to be represented by an attorney. The person who filed the complaint may be subpoenaed as a witness if he or she has personal knowledge of wrongdoing.

If no misconduct is found, the complaint will be dismissed. If the JCC finds improper conduct by the judge or a disability that seriously interferes with the judge’s ability to perform judicial duties, the JCC may take any of the following actions:

  • Privately admonish or privately reprimand the judge
  • Publicly reprimand or suspend the judge
  • Remove the judge from office or, in the case of disability, order the judge to retire from the bench

JCC orders are effective 10 days after service on a judge unless the judge appeals to the Supreme Court of Kentucky within that time. The Supreme Court can affirm, modify or set aside in whole or in part the JCC’s order or remand the action to the JCC for further proceedings.

Confidentiality 

The rules governing the JCC require confidentiality during the investigation process. If a complaint results in a hearing, the JCC provides the judge under review with the information compiled during the commission’s investigation, including the name of the person who filed the complaint, if relevant.

If the JCC files formal charges against a judge, the JCC makes public the charges and any response from the judge. All subsequent pleadings are also made public and any hearing related to the charges is public. Deliberations in reaching any decision regarding the charges are not public.

The complainant is notified of what action is taken unless the disposition is a private admonishment or private reprimand. Final disposition of some complaints takes several months or longer.

JCC Membership 

The JCC is composed of six voting members who serve four-year terms. The members include one member and one alternate from District Court, Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals, each chosen by a majority vote of their respective courts; one member and one alternate appointed by the governing body of the Kentucky Bar Association; and two citizen members (neither judges nor attorneys) appointed by the governor.


​Judicial Conduct Commission Members & Staff

R. Michael Sullivan, Chair, Owensboro

Court of Appeals Judge Jeff S. Taylor, 2nd Appellate District, 1st Division

Pike County Circuit Judge Eddy Coleman, 35th Judicial Circuit, Division 1

Jefferson District Judge David P. Bowles, 30th Judicial District, Division 8

Dr. Joe E. Ellis, Benton

Janet L. Lively, Louisville

Carroll M. "Trip" Redford III, Lexington

Court of Appeals Judge Glenn E. Acree, 5th Appellate District, 2nd Division

Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry, 30th Judicial District, Division 3

Campbell County District Judge Karen A. Thomas, 17th Judicial District, Division 2

Ms. Jimmy Shaffer, Executive Secretary

J. Rachel Noyes, Executive Assistant

​Judicial Conduct Commission Actions

John A. Schmidt, Bullitt County Master Commissioner (former)
Proceedings Aug. 18-Dec. 7, 2020

Private Reprimand
Nov. 5, 2020

Circuit Judge Robert Conley, 20th Judicial Circuit, Div. 1
Public Reprimand, Sept. 9, 2020

District Judge Donna G. Dutton, 53rd Judicial District, Div. 2
Agreed Order of Suspension, Sept. 4, 2020

Family Court Judge Dawn M. Gentry, 16th Judicial Circuit, Family Div. 5
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, Aug. 31, 2020
Proceedings - Nov. 18, 2019-Aug. 12, 2020

Private Reprimand
May 26, 2020

District Judge Robert F. Wright, 35th Judicial District, Div. 1 
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Dec. 23, 2019

Circuit Judge Allan Ray Bertram, 11th Judicial Circuit, Div. 2
Agreed Order of Permanent Retirement, Dec. 18, 2019

Circuit Judge Beth L. Maze, 21st Judicial Circuit, Div. 2
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, Nov. 7, 2019
Proceedings - May 21, 2018-Nov. 18, 2019

District Judge William W. Roberts, 21st Judicial District, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Suspension, Jan. 17, 2019

District Judge Sandra L. McLaughlin, 30th Judicial District, Div. 3
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, June 12, 2018

Circuit Judge Charles L. Cunningham Jr., 30th Judicial Circuit, Div. 4
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, May 22, 2018

Circuit Judge Timothy L. Langford, 1st Judicial Circuit
Agreed Order of Suspension, April 2, 2018
Proceedings - Dec. 19, 2017-March 7, 2018 

Family Court Judge W. Mitchell Nance, 43rd Judicial Circuit, Family Div. 2
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, Dec. 19, 2017
Proceedings – Sept. 11-Oct. 30, 2017

Private Reprimand
June 13, 2017

District Court Judge Jennifer H. Leibson, 30th Judicial District, Div. 5
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, April 13, 2017

Private Reprimand
April 5, 2017

Family Court Judge Kathy W. Stein, 22nd Judicial Circuit, Family Div. 6
Agreed Order of Suspension, March 21, 2017
Agreed Order of Temporary Suspension From Duties Pending Final Adjudication, March 15, 2017

Circuit Court Judge Ronnie C. Dortch, 38th Judicial Circuit, Div. 2
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Feb. 24, 2017

Family Court Judge Timothy N. Philpot, 22nd Judicial Circuit, Family Div. 1
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Jan. 6, 2017

District Court Judge Shan F. Embry, 46th Judicial District, Div. 2
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Dec. 27, 2016

Family Court Judge Kathy W. Stein, 22nd Judicial Circuit, Family Div. 6
Agreed Order of Suspension, Sept. 12, 2016

Private Reprimand
Sept. 7, 2016

Circuit Court Judge Vernon Miniard Jr., 57th Judicial Circuit, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Suspension, Sept. 2, 2016

Family Court Judge Lisa Osborne Bushelman, 16th Judicial Circuit, Family Div. 5
Agreed Order of Disability Retirement, Aug. 23, 2016
Order of Temporary Retirement, May 2, 2016

Circuit Court Judge Olu A. Stevens, 30th Judicial Circuit, Div. 6
Agreed Order of Suspension, Aug. 8, 2016
Proceedings - Feb. 18-Aug. 11, 2016 

District Court Judge Gregory T. Popovich, 17th Judicial District, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, July 7, 2016
Proceedings - April 1-July 5, 2016

District Court Judge Sheila A. Collins, 30th Judicial District, Div. 10
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, April 21, 2016
Proceedings - Jan. 11-April 18, 2016 

District Court Judge Kenneth L. Easterling, 16th Judicial District, Div. 2
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Dec. 18, 2015

District Court Judge Sam Potter Jr., 8th Judicial District, Div. 1
Amended Agreed Order of Suspension, Dec. 7, 2015

Private Reprimand
Oct. 9, 2015

Circuit Court Judge Steven D. Combs, 35th Judicial Circuit, Div. 2
Agreed Order of Suspension, Oct. 1, 2015
Proceedings - April 27, 2015-June 1, 2016

District Court Judge Sam Potter Jr., 8th Judicial District, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Suspension, Sept. 1, 2015

District Court Judge Cathy E. Prewitt, 34th Judicial Circuit, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Suspension, July 10, 2015

District Court Judge Gregory T. Popovich, 17th Judicial District, Div. 1
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order, June 17, 2015
Proceedings - Feb. 19-April 28, 2015

Private Reprimand
April 2, 2015

District Judge Sandra L. McLaughlin, 30th Judicial District, Div. 3
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Dec. 29, 2014

Private Reprimand
Dec. 5, 2014

Private Reprimand
Aug. 15, 2014

Private Reprimand
July 23, 2014

Judicial Candidate Dana M. Cohen, 30th Judicial District, Div. 17
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, July 21, 2014

District Court Judge Rebecca S. Ward, 55th Judicial Circuit, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Suspension, May 12, 2014

Circuit Court Judge Frank A. Fletcher, 39th Judicial Circuit, Div. 1
Agreed Order of Public Reprimand, Oct. 7, 2013 

Senior Status Special Judge (former) Martin F. McDonald
Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law and Final Order & Public Reprimand, Aug. 12, 2013
Proceedings - May 13-Aug. 12, 2013

Circuit Judge Timothy L. Langford, 1st Judicial Circuit
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Final Order & Public Reprimand, Sept. 28, 2012-June 17, 2013 

Private Reprimand
March 7, 2013

Private Reprimand
Sept. 28, 2012

Contact

Judicial Conduct Commission
P.O. Box 4266
Frankfort, KY 40604-4266

Phone: 502-564-1231
Fax: 502-564-1233

Contact