Three Candidates Seeking Marshall, Calloway Family Court Judgeship

Jan 14, 2020

Credit Niroworld / 123rf stock photo

Three candidates are running to become the next family court judge for the 42nd judicial circuit, which includes Marshall and Calloway counties. 

The seat was vacated after the retirement of Judge Rob Mattingly in November. Mattingly was the first family court judge for the circuit and previously served as the circuit court’s domestic relations commissioner. Family court is a relatively new development in Kentucky’s judicial system. The court has jurisdiction in all family matters including divorce and adoptions.

A special election in November will decide the next judge. However, Governor Andy Beshear will choose a replacement to serve until the election after receiving a list of candidates from the 42nd circuit’s judicial nominating commission. 

Stephanie Perlow

Credit Facebook Screenshot / Stephanie Perlow for Family Court Judge

Perlow is a Murray attorney specializing in family law. She is a graduate of Murray State University and the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley School of Law. Perlow said if elected, one of her top priorities will be managing the court’s adoption docket. 

“My biggest thing is trying to make adoption be able to go quicker through our docket system. I think that’s very important, it's a very big issue in our community,” Perlow said. 

Perlow said she has practiced over 2,000 cases in family law, with the vast majority taking place in Calloway and Marshall counties. She said this translates to a strong knowledge of the community and a passion for family issues in the two counties. She was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association in 2008.

Catherine Fuller

Credit Kentucky Legal Aid

Fuller is a staff attorney with Kentucky Legal Aid in Paducah. She said her experience as a public interest attorney will serve her well as family court judge.

“I have been in public service my entire law career,” Fuller said. “I feel I can make a bigger difference in the family courtroom as judge to continue with that public service.”

She said she hopes to maximize docket efficiency as judge by scheduling hearing days with multiple cases in hopes of a case settling before the court date. She also said she hopes to expand accessibility to family court by offering more outreach to clients who can’t afford an attorney.

Fuller is a graduate of Murray State University and the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. She was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association in 2008.

Ryan Yates

Credit Facebook Screenshot / Yates for Judge

Yates is a private practice attorney in Marshall County. He said he is a general practitioner, handling cases in criminal defense, personal injury, bankruptcy and other areas. He said he has spent his life in the service of his community and hopes to continue that by serving as judge.

“Giving back to the community and being able to help people on a personal level is actually what drove me into law,” Yates said. “I think what I bring as a candidate is a unique perspective because before I was in law I spent almost twenty years in what I would call the real world.”

Yates said the “real world” to him included stints as a firefighter, paramedic and flight medic. He said those experiences will translate well to the bench. Yates is a graduate of the University of Memphis and the Southern Illinois University School of Law. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar Association in 2006.