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Jim Shake

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Jim M. Shake
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Current Court Information:
Kentucky Circuit Court 30
Title:   Chief circuit judge
Appointed by:   Gov. Brereton Jones
Active:   1993-2023
Personal History
Home state:   Kentucky
Undergraduate:   University of Louisville
Law School:   University of Louisville, 1980
Candidate 2012:
Candidate for:  Kentucky Court of Appeals
State:  Kentucky
Election information 2012:
Incumbent:  No
Primary date:  May 22nd, 2012
Primary vote:  38%ApprovedA
Election date:  November 6th, 2012
Election vote:  49.21%
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Kentucky Circuit Court 30
Position:  2nd Division
State:  Kentucky
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  5/20/2014
Election date:  11/4/2014
Election vote:  ApprovedA

James "Jim" M. Shake is the chief circuit court judge for the 30th Judicial Circuit, serving Jefferson County of Kentucky.[1] He has served on the court since 1993, having been appointed by former Governor Brereton Jones. He was re-elected without opposition in 2014 for an eight-year term that expires on January 1, 2023.[2][3]

Shake was a candidate for the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 2012, but lost to Irv Maze.[4]



See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2014
Shake ran for re-election to the 30th Judicial Circuit.
General: He was unopposed in the general election on November 4, 2014.[2]


Shake ran for judge in the 4th district, 1st division of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.[5] Shake and current Kentucky Circuit Courts Judge Irv Maze defeated Ruth Ann Cox Pence in the primary election on May 22nd, 2012.[6] Maze and Shake competed in the general election on November 6th. He lost in the November general election to Maze, getting 49.21% of the vote.

See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2012


Shake ran as a candidate for the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2008 against incumbent Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson. He lost the electoral contest, receiving 45% of the vote.[7]

Candidate IncumbentSeatElection %
Lisabeth Hughes Abramson ApprovedA 4th District55.2%
Jim Shake 4th District44.8%


Louisville Bar Association ratings

744 members of the Louisville Bar Association rated the two candidates.[9]

Candidate Highly qualified Qualified Not qualified Do not know Not rated
Lisabeth Hughes Abramson 65.7% 18.3% 2.2% 8.6% 5.2%
Jim Shake 58.7% 28.6% 2.6% 5.5% 4.6%


Shake received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Louisville, receiving his J.D. from the Brandeis School of Law in 1980.[10][11]


Shake started his career as a public defender for Jefferson County, where he worked for three years. He left the defender's office to start a private practice, while at the same time serving as an assistant county attorney.

In March of 1993, Shake was appointed to the Thirtieth Judicial Circuit, Division 2 by former Governor Brereton Jones. He has served there ever since, and has been chosen as chief judge of the court three times by the court's other members, most recently in 2007.[10][12]

Notable cases

Shake weighs DNA testing

Judge Shake presided over a case that debated whether or not to honor the first DNA testing request made by one of Kentucky's death row inmates. Shake said there is “reasonable probability” that, if the testing existed at the time the inmate allegedly committed murder—1979—he would not have been convicted.[13]

The case of the 18 fired teachers

The Jefferson County Teachers Association sued Jefferson County's school district superintendent Sheldon Berman in May 2008 for not rehiring 18 teachers who had been released due to alleged disciplinary and performance issues. In July 2008, Shake refused to grant the temporary injunction that had been requested by the teacher's union, asking that the teachers be re-instated pending a full hearing.[14]

See also

External links


KentuckyKentucky Supreme CourtKentucky Court of AppealsKentucky Circuit CourtsKentucky District CourtsKentucky Family CourtUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States District Court for the Western District of KentuckyUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of KentuckyUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitKentucky countiesKentucky judicial newsKentucky judicial electionsJudicial selection in KentuckyKentuckyTemplate.jpg