Kentucky judge suspended; says the commission is “being used”

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A Kentucky judge was suspended with pay Friday after testifying that he pressured a lawyer who practiced on his court to support his re-election campaign.

The Kentucky Commission on Judicial Conduct voted 3-2 to suspend 42nd Judicial Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson after a daylong hearing in which he told commissioners he was being used for political purposes. The Paducah Sun reported.

The hearing included testimony from attorney Lisa DeRenard that Jameson repeatedly asked her to support his re-election campaign against Public Defender Andrea Moore. DeRenard felt pressured to donate to his campaign, which she did several times, she said.

She also stated that Jameson “put her on the spot” at a fundraising event, asking her to speak in support of his campaign. And she said Jameson pressured her to file a complaint against Amy Harwood-Jackson, a public defender who supports his opponent.

Also testifying was Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire, who said Jameson asked him to remove a courthouse officer from the building after a security video of Jameson was released. Jameson claimed the deputy posed a safety risk, though he mentioned in his text message to McGuire that he believed the deputy was acting in his opponent’s interest.

Jameson was also charged with misconduct. The panel watched a series of videos showing Jameson’s behavior in the courtroom and the use of his contempt power.

Jameson called character witnesses on his behalf, including local attorneys and a circuit clerk who praised his professional demeanor and said he treated defendants, attorneys and law enforcement with respect.

Jameson also took the stand in his own defense. He admitted that his behavior in the videos could have reflected a quick trigger or the result of particularly stressful days, but largely defended his actions as necessary to preserve room decorum and punish unacceptable behavior. In an awkward exchange, Jameson told commissioners he believed they were being used for political purposes.

After the vote, Jameson called it “part of modern politics” and said he would “stay the course”.

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