Interim judges named after west Kentucky judge temporarily suspended by state conduct commission
The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission voted Friday to suspend 42nd Judicial Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson with pay as hearings continue regarding allegations of misconduct levied at the official earlier this summer.
The commission suspended Jameson in a 3-2 vote after an all-day hearing Friday. Jameson’s suspension will be in place until the commission reaches a verdict.
Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton Monday appointed and assigned judges to cover Jameson’s docket until legal proceedings on charges of misconduct conclude.
A Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts official said retired Judge David Buckingham will cover the district docket during Jameson’s suspension. Family Court Judge Stephanie Perlow will serve as the temporary chief circuit court judge.
Jameson, who presides over Calloway and Marshall counties, was charged with four counts of misconduct in July,including two associated with an ankle monitoring program, allegedly engaging in retaliatory actions and deviating from conduct standards and another count for allegedly pressuring attorneys to donate to his ongoing re-election campaign.
JCC Chairman R. Michael Sullivan presided with fellow commission members Janet L. McCauley, Campbell District Judge Karen A. Thomas, Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry, Pike County Circuit Judge Eddy Coleman, Court of Appeals Judge Jeff S. Taylor and Carroll M. Redford III also present. Joe Ellis of Benton recused himself.
The Paducah Sun reported Attorney Jeffrey Mando called two witnesses against Jameson — Lisa DeRenard, a practicing attorney in Jameson’s circuit and Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire.
DeRenard testified regarding her belief Jameson had pressured her to support his campaign for reelection, saying that multiple requests for support were made of her and she donated multiple times. She also said Jameson “put her on the spot” at a fundraising event by asking her to speak in support of his campaign, the Sun reported. The attorney also gave testimony about what she felt was pressure from Jameson to make a bar complaint against a public defender that supported his opponent, Andrea Moore, in this fall’s election.
McGuire testified regarding a request from Jameson to have him remove court security deputy Jeff Daniels from the building after a controversy surrounding “the viewing and dissemination of a security video involving Jameson in the early hours of the morning,” the Sun reported. This deputy was reassigned to a role outside the court facility. Jameson said he believed the deputy was acting in the interest of Moore.
The hearing also focused on Jameson’s use of the contempt power, and witnesses were called in support of Jameson’s character, including Murray attorney Mike Pitman, Benton attorney Tom Blankenship and Calloway County Circuit Court Clerk Linda Avery.
Jameson’s connection to the Community Corrections Board – which offers ankle monitoring services – and its Re-life project were probed, but the judge said he is no longer a part of the board or responsible for how the organization promotes itself.
Videos of Jameson holding people in contempt of court were shown. One of those, the Murray Ledger & Times reported, was a defendant who got upset when his probation was revoked; another was the grandfather of a defendant whose probation had been revoked; and the final video was of a deputy jailer who was held in contempt for refusing to admit an inmate sent from the courthouse without contacting the judge first.
A fourth set of videos showed interactions between Jameson and Moore in 2017 where “he suggested that she did not understand the law she used to support her request that her client’s sentences run concurrently,” the Ledger & Times reported.
The judge gave an emotional closing testimony, the Ledger & Times reported.
“I’m trying … Help me. Tell me how to do it better. I’m trying to do some big things to make a big difference; things that needed to change,” he said, stressing his desire to help people suffering from substance use disorders. “I’m just trying to solve a problem.”
Jameson, at one point, told the commission they were being used to impact him politically.
“This is unfortunately part of modern-day politics,” Jameson said, promising to “stay the course.”
The date for the next hearing has not yet been set.