Kentucky Supreme Court

John Boyle

State attorneys arguing that police don’t need a search warrant to track a person’s location in real-time through their cell phone were met with skepticism from the Kentucky Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The state’s highest court heard arguments in a case that stems from a Woodford County robbery, in which police tracked a suspect’s location by “pinging” his cell phone without a search warrant.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office argued that police don’t need a search warrant to track someone driving on a public road, even if that tracking is conducted through technology.

“This is not a case about police accessing data stored on cell phones. It is not about whether the police can use dragnet surveillance techniques to monitor an individual’s movement,” said Brett Nolan, a deputy solicitor general for the Office of the Kentucky Attorney General. “This is about using technology to do something that police have always been able to do, which they’ve always done: public surveillance on a public road.”

David Brinkley

The Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court has announced plans to retire after serving 30 years on bench. 

In an interview on Wednesday with WKU Public Radio, John Minton, Jr. of Bowling Green announced he will not seek re-election next year. 

Minton says although his term doesn’t expire until January 1, 2023, he wanted to announce his intentions early.

“One of the rules of traditional politics would be that an elected official, such as the chief justice, would never confirm that he wasn’t seeking re-election because the concern is that you become immediately irrelevant," commented Minton. "Well, I don’t intend to become irrelevant. I’ve got more than a year left to serve.”

Flickr/Creative Commons

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday over the legislature’s attempt to limit Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers, a day before the governor scheduled coronavirus restrictions to expire.

The Republican-led legislature passed several laws undermining the Democratic governor’s emergency powers earlier this year—including a measure limiting executive orders to 30 days unless renewed by lawmakers and requiring him to seek approval from the attorney general in order to suspend statutes during states of emergency.

Amy Cubbage, Beshear’s general counsel, argued that since the Kentucky constitution makes the governor the “chief executive,” the governor’s emergency powers are protected.

Stephanie Wolf

On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether the legislature can limit Gov. Andy Beshear’s emergency powers.

Beshear issued dozens of executive orders throughout the coronavirus pandemic, limiting crowd sizes, requiring people to wear masks and imposing curfews at bars and restaurants.

But Republican lawmakers passed several bills earlier this year attempting to undermine the Democratic governor’s ability to respond to states of emergency on his own.

Beshear sued and Franklin Circuit Court agreed to block those measures. After an appeal from Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the challenge will now be tested before the state’s highest court.

Thinkstock

The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether local jails are allowed to bill people for incarceration costs, even if they are later cleared of wrongdoing.

The High Court heard arguments Wednesday over a case involving a Winchester man arrested in 2014 on child pornography charges that were eventually dropped because police found no evidence.

After his arrest, David Jones couldn’t afford to pay a $15,000 bond and spent 14 months in the Clark County Jail, racking up more than $4,000 in jail fees while prosecutors pursued the case.

Jones filed a lawsuit against the county over the tab. During a hearing on Wednesday, Jones’ attorney Gregory Belzley argued that automatically charging inmates for jail costs goes against the presumption of innocence.

Kentucky Supreme Court To Hear Coronavirus-Related Cases

Apr 18, 2021
Stephanie Wolf

Kentucky’s Supreme Court has agreed to take up the Democratic governor’s challenge of Republican-backed laws aimed at limiting his authority to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GOP-led legislature passed the measures over Gov. Andy Beshear’s vetoes. The governor immediately filed a lawsuit. The new laws curbing his executive powers were temporarily blocked by Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.

The Supreme Court says it will extend its review to a second pandemic-related case at the same time. Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. says the review will be expedited. The court will hear arguments June 10 in both cases.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s court system has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but its operations look very different.  Judicial centers are limiting access to the public and many hearings are taking place virtually.  Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. issued an order postponing jury trials until at least Feb. 1.

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Minton said he felt the decision was necessary until the state gets a better handle on the spread of the virus.

“People can make choices about whether they go out and shop, socialize," Minton said. "They can make those choices, but it you’re summoned for jury duty, that’s not a choice you get to opt out of.”


Creative Commons

The Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated an award of more than $1 billion against the illegal internet gambling site, PokerStars. The Supreme Court ruling reversed an appeals court ruling that had ruled in favor of PokerStars.

The state originally filed suit against the site in Franklin Circuit in 2010. It claimed PokerStars had collected $290,230,077 over a five-year period from about 34,000 Kentucky gamblers. The state sought triple damages plus interest from the site, which was run offshore by a criminal syndicate, according to the ruling.

The Court of Appeals reversed the circuit ruling, declaring that the state had no standing to pursue a judgment against the site. The state appealed that ruling to the state’s high court.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court declared the state has standing to bring the action as a “person.” It said the award should not be considered a windfall.

Kentucky Office of the Courts

The Kentucky Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of Gov. Andy Beshear’s power to issue emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling comes after several Northern Kentucky business owners sued Beshear in late June over his orders, which affected their reopening during the pandemic.

Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined the lawsuit and expanded it, asking the court to rule on whether Beshear had the power to issue any orders during the state of emergency.

 


Jess Clark

A federal district judge heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought by several Kentucky Board of Education members ousted by Gov. Andy Beshear.

The members, all appointed by former Gov. Matt Bevin, are asking the court to stop the Beshear-appointed board from meeting.

The seven former board members say Beshear’s decision to remove them shortly after his election was illegal. They asked a state court for a preliminary injunction to prevent the new board from meeting in December, but the state court denied that request. Now, the Bevin appointees are suing in federal court.

 


Thinkstock

The Kentucky Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit against Lexington T-shirt maker Hands On Originals, which refused to print T-shirts for a 2012 gay pride festival on religious grounds.

The court did not address the main arguments of the case, instead ruling that Lexington’s anti-discrimination ordinance does not protect groups who feel they have been discriminated against — only individuals.

 


Kentucky Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Pension Case

Oct 24, 2019
Kentucky Office of the Courts

Government employees in Kentucky who sued over state investment decisions have taken their case to the state's Supreme Court after a lower court said they lacked standing to file suit.

The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Thursday.

The fraud lawsuit was filed two years ago by a group of public workers. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports they claim out-of-state firms cheated Kentucky Retirement Systems on $1.5 billion in hedge-fund investments. The suit was dismissed by Kentucky's Court of Appeals.

Kentucky Supreme Court Candidates Offer Starkly Different Resumes

Oct 21, 2019
Ryland Barton

Two believers in the conservative judicial philosophy of the late Antonin Scalia are highlighting starkly different resumes while making their case to voters in competing for a seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court.

State Sen. Whitney Westerfield and Judge Christopher Shea Nickell are vying to represent a 24-county western Kentucky district on the state’s highest court. The region’s voters will choose their new justice on Nov. 5, and the winner will serve the remainder of retired Justice Bill Cunningham’s term ending in 2022.

Public Domain

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin is allowed to reject contracts Attorney General Andy Beshear made with private law firms to sue drugmakers over their role in the state’s opioid epidemic.

Beshear’s office has sought assistance from several law firms as it sues drug manufacturers and distributors in nine different cases.

In a statement, Bevin celebrated the legal victory, accusing Beshear of trying to direct contracts to “his friends and campaign donors.”

ky.gov

The Kentucky Supreme Court heard arguments Friday over whether a Lexington company was allowed to refuse to print T-shirts for organizers of the city’s gay pride parade.

Blaine Adams, the owner of Hands On Originals, refused to make T-shirts for Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization in 2012, saying that doing so would have violated his religious beliefs.

GLSO filed a complaint with the Lexington Human Rights Commission, which said the company had violated the city’s fairness ordinance.

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