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|Current Court Information:|
|United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky|
|Appointed by:||Ronald Reagan|
|Active:||7/27/1988 - 5/2/2005|
|Chief:||2001 - 2005|
|Senior:||5/2/2005 - Present|
|Preceded by:||Green Wix Unthank|
|Succeeded by:||Gregory Van Tatenhove|
|Home State:||Harlan, KY|
|Bachelors:||U. of Kentucky, B.A., 1962|
|Law School:||U. of Kentucky College of Law, J.D., 1966|
Karl Spillman Forester is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. He joined the court in 1988 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Forester is a judge serving on senior status.
Early life and education
Eastern District of Kentucky
On the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell, Forester was nominated by Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1988 to a seat vacated by Wix Unthank as Unthank went on senior status. Forester was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 26, 1988 and received commission on July 27, 1988. Forester served as the chief judge of the court from 2001 to 2005 before later assuming senior status on May 2, 2005.  Forester was succeeded in this position by Gregory Van Tatenhove.
A notable case on this page needs to be updated.
Judge Forester allowed for a widow of a Louisiana man to file a claim against Comair after the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of the legality of the action on October 12, 2009. This ruling comes after the October 7, 2009 ruling by Kentucky's highest court which allowed a spouse to sue for loss of physical and emotional companionship challenging current Kentucky law that only allows such remedy if the spouse was incapacitated but not if the spouse died. No word has been told of any proceeding action in federal court.
Bid rigging case
On July 9, 2009, Judge Forester asked federal prosecutors and defense attorney to limit new filings during the 60 days before the trial of highway contractor Leonard Lawson, former Kentucky Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert and Lawson's aide Brian Billings. Forester said the ruling was to limit the jury pool's exposure to news stories that would be written about any last-minute developments between the two sides.
Larry Mackey, an attorney for Leonard Lawson, told Judge Forester it was a "great idea" but said, "it may not be possible to fulfill because there may be a need to bring something before the court even up to the eve of trial." In regards to Mr. Mackey's concerns, Judge Forester said he would allow for emergency exceptions for any side to issue a new filing.
Lawson, Nighbert and Billings are accused of conspiracy to steer $130 million dollars of highway construction contracts to companies owned by Lawson which prosecutors claimed it circumvented the competitive bidding process. All three defendants have entered not guilty pleas.
Judge Forester also asked reporters, during a private meeting for their news organizations, to voluntarily withhold any stories about the trial during the days leading up to jury selection. The reporters said they would relay the judge's request to their respective editors/assignment managers.
Judge Forester's orders to the media have raised issue by Kentucky journalists. David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Press Association claimed that Judge Forester's request is uncommon. Thompson said: "Obviously people have expressed concerns about fair trials, pre-press publicity and that sort of thing, but I've never heard of that," said Thompson. "I don't know of anyone that would agree with something like that."
On January 26, 2010, Judge Forester dismissed bribery charges against both Lawson and Nightbert ending a trial that began in the first part of January. The bribery charges were dropped after the judge felt there was not enough evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the former Kentucky DOT Secretary and a construction company executive in engaging in bid rigging. The judge is also considering to drop other charges including conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
- Judge Forester's Homepage
- The Robing Room- Rate Judge Forrester
- Karl Forester's Biography from the Federal Judicial Center
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Karl Forester's Biography from the Federal Judicial Center.
- ↑ "Kentucky.com" Federal judge rules in favor of plane crash widow, October 13, 2009
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Kentucky.com" Federal judge wants to limit pretrial publicity, July 9, 2009
- ↑ "Lexington Herald-Leader" Bribery charges dismissed in bid-rigging case, January 27, 2010
|Federal judicial offices|
Green Wix Unthank
|Eastern District of Kentucky
Gregory Van Tatenhove
|Magistrate judges||Gregory Wehrman • Edward Atkins • Robert Wier • Candace Smith • Hanly Ingram •|
|Former Article III judges|
|Former Chief judges|