Judicial Vacancies

Judicial Nominating Commission 

The Judicial Nominating Commission helps fill judicial vacancies by appointment when a vacancy occurs outside of the election cycle. The Kentucky Constitution established the Judicial Nominating Commission (KY. CONST. § 118; SCR 6.000, et seq.).

See vacancies below.  

Composition of Judicial Nominating Commissions

There are 61 nominating commissions in Kentucky, one for the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, one for each judicial circuit and one for each judicial district. If the circuit and district have the same boundaries, then one commission serves both.

Each commission has seven members and is comprised of the chief justice of Kentucky (who serves as chair), two attorneys elected by all attorneys in the vacancy’s jurisdiction and four non-attorney Kentucky citizens who are appointed by the governor. The four citizens must equally represent the two major political parties.

JNC members must reside in the circuit or district they represent and may not hold any other public office or hold an office in a political party or organization. They serve four-year terms. Members reimbursed for expenses for the days they perform their duties but are not compensated for their services. The JNC executive secretary provides administrative support and maintains the records for the nominating commissions. 

Application Process

When a judicial vacancy occurs, the JNC executive secretary notifies all attorneys and the public in the affected judicial circuit or district. Attorneys can recommend someone or nominate themselves for the vacancy. Interested attorneys must complete an application and return it to the JNC executive secretary.

The chief justice meets with the JNC to select three nominees and then forwards those names to the governor. The names of the three nominees are listed in alphabetical order without indicating the commission’s preference. The governor must appoint a judge from this list of three. If the governor does not appoint a judge within 60 days of receiving the list of nominees, the appointment is made by the chief justice from the list of nominees.

Current Vacancies

6th Judicial District, Division 3

Vacancy for the 6th Judicial District, Daviess County

Appointee
Shannon LeMaster Meyer, Owensboro

Nominees
Heather Lynn Wagner Blackburn, Owensboro
Shannon LeMaster Meyer, Owensboro
James Nicholas Payne, Owensboro

8th Judicial District, Division 1

Vacancy for the 8th Judicial District, Warren County

Appointee
Kimberly Jo Geoghegan, Bowling Green

Nominees
Jon Blakely Beliles, Bowling Green
Dwight Montae Burton, Bowling Green
Kimberly Jo Geoghegan, Bowling Green

9th Judicial District, Division 1

Vacancy for the 9th Judicial District, Hardin County

Appointee
Deborah Lewis (D.Dee) Shaw, Elizabethtown

Nominees
Ferrell Adkins, Elizabethtown
Donald Curtis Jones, Elizabethtown
Deborah Lewis (D.Dee) Shaw, Elizabethtown

12th Judicial District, Division 2

Vacancy for the 12th Judicial District, Henry, Oldham & Trimble counties

Appointee
Brittany Bailey McKenna, Prospect

Nominees
Brittany Bailey McKenna, Prospect
Valerie Anne Lammlein Shannon, La Grange
Gary Sutton Stewart, Crestwood

20th Judicial District

Vacancy for the 20th Judicial District, Greenup and Lewis counties

Appointee
Paul Eugene Craft, Russell

Nominees
Paul Eugene Craft, Russell
Rhese David McKenzie, Flatwoods
Matthew Jackson Warnock, Ashland

22nd Judicial District, Division 1

Vacancy for the 22nd Judicial District, Fayette County

Appointee

Denotra Ann Spruill-Gunther, Lexington

Nominees
Shannon Leigh Brooks, Lexington
Joshua Tyler Fain, Lexington
Denotra Ann Spruill-Gunther, Lexington

25th Judicial District, Division 2

Vacancy for the 25th Judicial District, Clark and Madison counties

Appointee
Robert Vincent Jennings, Richmond

Nominees
Kristen Jane Clouse, Richmond
Robert Vincent Jennings, Richmond
Moriah Lloyd Tussey, Richmond

30th Judicial District, Division 12

 
 

Vacancy for the 30th Judicial District, Jefferson County

Appointee
Josephine Layne Buckner, Louisville

Nominees
Josephine Layne Buckner, Louisville
Sheldon Lee Haden, Louisville
David Stuart Stevenson, Louisville

45th Judicial District

Vacancy for the 45th Judicial District, McLean and Muhlenberg counties

Appointee

Darris Lynn Russell, Central City

Nominees
Al Miller, Central City
Darris Lynn Russell, Central City
Eric S. Stovall, Greenville

50th Judicial District, Division 1

Vacancy for the 50th Judicial District, Boyle and Mercer counties

Appointee
Stacy Elizabeth Coontz, Junction City

Nominees
Patrick Francis Barsotti, Danville
Stacy Elizabeth Coontz, Junction City
Christopher Joel Reed, Danville

56th Judicial District, Division 1

Vacancy for the 56th Judicial District, Caldwell, Livingston, Lyon and Trigg counties

Appointee
Roger Brandon Knoth, Eddyville

Nominees
Roger Brandon Knoth, Eddyville
Jennifer Gail Sacharnoski Nelson, Princeton and
Matthew Edward Schalk, Princeton

59th Judicial District

Vacancy for the 59th Judicial District, Ballard and Carlisle counties

counties

Appointee
Mark Stephen Medlin, Kevil

Nominees
Mark Stephen Medlin, Kevil
Dawn E. Stacy, Kevil
Grace Eleanor Stewart, Kevil

9th Judicial Circuit, Division 1, Family Court

Vacancy for the 9th Judicial Circuit, Hardin County

Appointee
Dawn Lonneman Blair, Elizabethtown

Nominees
Melanie Goff Biggers, Elizabethtown
Dawn Lonneman Blair, Elizabethtown
Teresa Elaine Logsdon, Elizabethtown

9th Judicial Circuit, Division 2

Vacancy for the 9th Judicial Circuit, Hardin County

Appointee
John David Simcoe

Nominees
Raymond Eric Carr, Elizabethtown
Teresa Elaine Logsdon, Elizabethtown
John David Simcoe, Elizabethtown

10th Judicial Circuit, Division 2

Vacancy for the 10th Judicial Circuit, Hart, Larue and Nelson counties

Appointee
Joseph “Joe” Guinan Ballard

Nominees
Joseph “Joe” Guinan Ballard, Bardstown
Audrey Leeann Haydon, Bardstown
Arch Cox McKay, III, Bardstown

12th Judicial Circuit, Division 1

Vacancy for the 12th Judicial Circuit, Henry, Oldham and Trimble counties

Appointee
Jerry David Crosby II

Nominees
Jerry David Crosby II, Goshen
Kristen Hannah Fowler, Crestwood
Brittany Bailey McKenna, Prospect

14th Judicial Circuit, Division 2

Vacancy for the 14th Judicial Circuit, Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties

Appointee
Kathryn “Katie” Holland Gabhart, Georgetown

Nominees
Kathryn “Katie” Holland Gabhart, Georgetown
Gerry L. Harris, Georgetown
John M. Sosbe, Stamping Ground

16th Judicial Circuit, Division 3

Vacancy for the 16th Judicial Circuit, Kenton County

Appointee
Mary Kathleen (Kate) Molloy, Crescent Springs

Nominees
Aaron John Currin, Fort Wright
Jason Edward Hiltz, Park Hills
Mary Kathleen (Kate) Molloy, Crescent Springs

16th Judicial Circuit, Division 5, Family Court

Vacancy for the 16th Judicial Circuit, Kenton County

Appointee
Acena Johnson Beck, Covington

Nominees
Acena Johnson Beck, Covington
Thomas Anthony Rauf, Edgewood
Carol Lavonn Risk, Fort Wright

20th Judicial Circuit, Division 1

Vacancy for the 20th Judicial Circuit, Greenup and Lewis counties

Appointee
Brian Christopher McCloud

Nominees
Paul Eugene Craft, Russell
Matthew Jackson Warnock, Ashland
Brian Christopher McCloud, Worthington

22nd Judicial Circuit, Division 6, Family Court

Vacancy for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, Fayette County

Appointee
Carl D. Devine, Lexington

Nominee
Carl D. Devine, Lexington
Martha A. Rosenberg, Lexington
Tiffany Lorraine Yahr, Lexington

22nd Judicial Circuit, Division 7

Vacancy for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, Fayette County

Appointee

Jeffrey Anderson Taylor, Lexington

Nominees
Perry Mack Bentley, Lexington
Todd Smith Page, Lexington
Jeffrey Anderson Taylor, Lexington

25th Judicial Circuit, Division 2

Vacancy for the 25th Judicial Circuit, Clark and Madison counties

Appointee
Cole Adams Maier, Winchester