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Western Ky. judge disqualified from hearing criminal cases

Murray Ledger & Times
Jessica Jones Paine

The Kentucky Supreme Court ordered that a western Kentucky judge be disqualified from hearing criminal cases in his jurisdiction Thursday after being ordered to vacate office and losing a bid for reelection.

The subject of the order was 42nd Judicial Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson – who was ordered to vacate his office last week following misconduct charges earlier this year and lost a bid for reelection in Marshall and Calloway counties Tuesday.

Jameson was disqualified from all criminal cases in his two-county jurisdiction due to “sufficient evidence of animosity” between himself and Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Foust.

Foust spoke before the Judicial Conduct Commission during its investigation that led to its order earlier this month to remove Jameson for the remainder of this term and disqualify him for the next. This, in the Kentucky Supreme Court’s order, presented “a circumstance in which Judge Jameson’s ability to impartially preside over criminal cases in the 42nd Judicial Circuit might reasonably be questioned.”

The JCC levied seven misconduct charges against Jameson in total, including pressuring attorneys and trying to use his position to manipulate media coverage.

Though Jameson lost Tuesday’s election to western Kentucky attorney Andrea Moore, he is still appealing the Judicial Conduct Commission’s decision to remove him from office to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Retired Kentucky Supreme Court Justice David Buckingham has been appointed to hear Jameson’s criminal cases. Buckingham presided over Calloway and Marshall during Jameson’s later-overturned temporary suspension.

The 70-page document from the JCC ordering Jameson’s removal also asserted that the commission had a “good faith basis” that Jameson should be “permanently removed from judicial office because the totality of the clear and convincing evidence” presented during the hearings.

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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