Are KY Court of Appeal candidates qualified with no experience as a judge?

Every Jefferson County court seat will be on the ballot in November. The May 17 primary will include nine contested court positions, including the Kentucky Court of Appeals, District 4, Division 2.

The Court of Appeals handles appeals from the lower courts (circuit and district) and although one nominee is currently a district court judge, none of the nominees have previously served as a circuit court judge.

Forensic races are non-partisan, meaning they are not affiliated with any party. Candidates do not campaign on issues, they campaign on merit and experience.

It also means that, regardless of party affiliation, every voter can and should vote in the next primary. Kentucky’s primaries are considered closed, but this designation only applies to partisan elections. Unaffiliated voters will receive ballots that contain only nonpartisan elections.

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The Courier Journal, in conjunction with the League of Women Voters of Louisville and the Louisville Bar Association, has identified questions for applicants to the Court of Appeals. We asked for answers in 200 words or less. Here are their answers.

You were not a judge on the Circuit Court, whose opinions are considered by the Court of Appeals. Besides the minimum qualifications for the position, why should voters elect you?

McKenzie Cantrell

“First, I practiced law. The bulk of my practice has been spent in employment law, representing employees in wage and hour matters, breach of contract, human trafficking and My clients were mostly low-income and Spanish-speaking, some of the most vulnerable in our workforce.

“Second, I have made law. For the past six years, I have served as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives. Participating in the making and passing of laws, particularly as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, has given me an opportunity to work with all kinds of laws and shape the policy of our public and judicial system.

“Third, I taught law as an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville School of Law. I taught legislation and statutory interpretation, and statutory interpretation is exactly the job of ‘a judge of appeal. I have seen the legislative process from both a practical and an academic side, and now I am ready to apply that experience as a judge.’

Annette Karem

Annette Karem

“I served as a district court judge for nearly 16 years. In this role, I make daily decisions that impact the lives of those involved in the justice system, including civil and criminal litigants and victims. I understand the importance of making thoughtful and careful decisions.

“As a lawyer before taking the bench, I have been involved in numerous trials both as a civil lawyer and as a prosecutor in the domestic violence, crimes against children and crimes against children unit. sexual assaults from the county attorney. My vast experience gives me a perspective that will enable me to understand both sides of the cases that will be brought before me in the Court of Appeals.”

Stan Whetzel

Stan Whetzel

“I think my background and my experience set me apart in my legal career, and I think voters should elect me because of it. I have practiced appellate law and civil litigation for over thirty years, representing individuals, estates of deceased persons, small and large businesses, publicly traded corporations, banks and federal farm credit associations (in state and federal courts in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee ) and local and state governments legal capacity (“preeminent”) and “V” for ethics (“very high”).

“I am admitted to the Kentucky Bar, the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, both federal district courts in Kentucky and the Southern District of Indiana. I represent both plaintiffs and defendants. others tell me that I excel in legal research and writing, which is the basic job of an appellate judge and a lawyer. I have been told that I have a good “judicial temper”.

“I enjoy challenging legal work the most, and have done it successfully for many years. I am a naturally curious person, diligent and take responsibility. I listen well and usually consider opinions of others. Please see my campaign site:”

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Have you ever tried a civil or criminal case before a jury? If yes how much?

McKenzie Cantrell

“No, over 90% of cases settle before trial, and studies have shown that settlement is more beneficial to the parties in the long run. My cases so far have been declining in that majority of cases.”

Annette Karem

“I have been involved in numerous trials in my more than 25 years in the legal field, including more than 15 years as a district court judge. In private practice, I have been involved in civil trials. As a prosecutor for seven years, I tried many cases involving domestic violence. Finally, as a district court judge, I tried many cases in civil and criminal courts.”

Stan Whetzel

“Yes. I have tried several cases before juries. One is particularly memorable. It involved a personal injury case involving tractor-trailer drivers and a negligently designed and constructed freeway detour. The late Edward Post and I tried to reach a verdict, five days a week for six weeks.Other cases involved the state’s taking of private property for public purposes under Kentucky’s condemnation and eminent laws on Most of my work has been about winning business for my clients without burdening them with the enormous cost, expense and risk of jury trials, and dealing with cases on appeal.”

What skills or qualifications do you have that make you a better candidate for the Court of Appeal position.

McKenzie Cantrell

“I am someone the community has trusted as an elected official for several years. I have taken on the responsibility of making policy decisions for our city and state, and now I am asking for the responsibility of interpreting the law and to set a precedent for our city and state. My parents taught me to work hard and strive to be excellent in all that I do. The skills that made me a compassionate lawyer, a ‘committed state and an effective educator will serve me well if you choose me to serve you in the Court of Appeals.

Annette Karem

“I am the only candidate in my race with judicial experience. One of the main functions of a Court of Appeal judge is to assess and, if necessary, correct the decisions made by other judges. I have made these decisions I acknowledge and understand that these are decisions that impact the lives of those before me In addition to my judicial experience, I am involved in various community organizations that involve the justice system. justice.

“I have extensive experience and training in domestic violence cases and serve on the Domestic Violence Death Review Committee. As Chief District Court Judge, I serve on numerous committees with our justice partners, especially after being recently appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to the Task Force on Improving Court Notice Processes My level of experience is unmatched in my race and makes me the best candidate for the position at the Court of Appeal.

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Stan Whetzel

“In my opinion, the depth, breadth and quality of my legal practice and experience, my legal abilities and the years of actively practicing law set me apart from my opponents in this race.

“I am told that I excel in legal research and writing, the basic work of an appellate judge and a lawyer. I am told that I have a good “judicial temper”. My point of view of the role of judge of the Court of Appeal also distinguishes me.

“An opponent is a legislator. Legislators set public policy. The Court of Appeals corrects prejudicial errors in appealed cases. It does not make politics. Another is a district court judge. A judge of the district court makes many decisions in many cases.

“However, cases on appeal are decided on the basis of recorded facts and ‘on the record.’ It is not the prerogative of the COA to disregard the case. I will respect the role of a judge of the Court of Appeals, and undertake to act within its limits. For these reasons, I consider myself the best candidate in this race.”

Find out more about the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeals hears appeals from the lower courts (Circuit and District) with the exception of criminal acquittals and divorce judgments (issues in a divorce case may be appealed). Cases are not retried before the Court of Appeal. The trial court case is reviewed and the parties’ attorneys present the legal issues to the court. Two judges are elected from each of the seven appellate court districts. When cases are decided, the judges are divided into panels of three, with the majority determining the decision. Panels travel the state to hear cases. Each judge is elected for an eight-year term.

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