Bench & Bar

MAR 2018

The Bench & Bar magazine is published to provide members of the KBA with information that will increase their knowledge of the law, improve the practice of law, and assist in improving the quality of legal services for the citizenry.

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| MARCH/APRIL 2018 56 COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY JUDICIAL CONDUCT COMMISSION IN RE THE MATTER OF: W. MITCHELL NANCE, FAMILY COURT JUDGE 43 rd JUDICIAL CIRCUIT NOTICE OF FORMAL PROCEEDINGS AND CHARGES Notice is hereby given of the initiation of formal proceedings under Rule 4.180 of Rules of the Supreme Court against Judge W. Mitchell Nance, Family Court Judge for Kentucky's 43rd Judicial Circuit located in Barren and Metcalf Counties. e Charges are as follows: Count I On April 27, 2017, you issued General Order 17-01 declaring that "under no circumstance" would the adoption of a child by a homosexual be in the child's best interest. Acknowledging that this declaration might constitute a "personal bias or prejudice" against homosexuals seeking to adopt children, you ordered that any attor- ney filing a motion for adoption on behalf of a homosexual party must notify court staff so that you could recuse and disqualify your- self from any such proceeding. A copy of General Order 17-01 is attached to these charges. Your actions violate SCR 4.020(1)(b)(i) and constitute miscon- duct in office. Furthermore, your actions violate SCR 4.300 and the relevant portions of the following Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: • Canon 1 which requires judges to maintain high stan- dards of conduct and uphold the integrity and inde- pendence of the judiciary. • Canon 2A which requires judges to respect and com- ply with the law and act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and im- partiality of the judiciary. • Canon 3B(1) which requires a judge to hear and de- cide matters assigned to the judge except those in which disqualification is required. • Canon 3B(2) which requires a judge to be faithful to the law. • Canon 3B(5) which prohibits a judge from manifest- ing, by words or conduct, a bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. Count II In issuing General Order 17-01, you enacted a Local Rule for Barren and Metcalf Family Courts without the approval from the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court as required under SCR 1.040(3)(a). Your actions violate SCR 4.020(1)(b)(i) and constitute miscon- duct in office. Furthermore, your actions violate SCR 4.300 and the relevant portions of the following Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct: • Canon 1 which requires judges to maintain high stan- dards of conduct and uphold the integrity and inde- pendence of the judiciary. • Canon 2A which requires judges to respect and com- ply with the law and act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and im- partiality of the judiciary. e Judicial Conduct Commission has jurisdiction pursuant to SCR 4.020(1)(b)(i) and (v), and (1)(c) which read, in pertinent part, as follows: (1) Commission shall have authority: (b) To impose the sanctions separately or collectively of (1) admonition, private reprimand or public reprimand; (2) suspension without pay or removal or retirement from judicial office, upon any judge of the Court of Justice or lawyer while a candidate for judicial office, who after notice and hearing the Commission finds guilty of any one or more of the following: (i) Misconduct in office. (ii) Persistent failure to perform his/her duties. (v) Violation of the code of Judicial Conduct, Rule 4.300. (c) After notice and hearing to remove a judge whom it finds to lack the constitutional statutory qualifications for the judgeship in question. For your information, the Commission calls your attention to the following Supreme Court Rule: RULE 4.180 FORMAL PROCEEDINGS If the Commission concludes that formal proceedings should be initiated, it shall notify the judge. He may file an answer within 15 days after service of the notice. Upon the filing of his answer, or the expiration of time for so filing, the Commission shall set a time and place for the hearing and shall give reasonable notice thereof to the judge. Please mail your answer to: Ms. Jimmy Shaffer, Executive Sec- retary, Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission, P.O. Box 4266, Frankfort, Kentucky 40604-4266. September 11, 2017 /s/ STEPHEN D. WOLNITZEK, CHAIR Judge Jeff S. Taylor recused from any consideration of this matter. I hereby certify that copy of this Notice of Formal Proceedings and Charges was served on M. Mitchell Nance, Family Court Judge, by mailing same to his attorneys, Bryan H. Beauman, Esq. and L. Scott Miller, Esq., 333 West Vine Street, Suite 1500, Lex- ington, KY 40507 this 11 th day of September, 2017. /s/ JIMMY SHAFFER, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY BAR NEWS

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