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Kentucky Court of Appeals

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Kentucky Court of Appeals
Court information
Judges:   14
Salary:   $[1]
Judicial selection
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   8 years

The Kentucky Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in Kentucky. Prior to a 1975 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution that created the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Kentucky Court of Appeals was the only appellate court in the state.

The court consists of 14 members who serve eight-year terms. The Court normally sits in 3 judge panels, with membership in the panels rotating so all judges sit on at least one panel with each of their colleagues every year. The court is headquartered in Frankfort, but the 3 judge panels hear cases in courtrooms throughout the state.


JudgeTermAppointed by
Judge Sara Combs1994-2023Gov. Brereton Jones
Judge Janet Stumbo2007-2023
Judge Joy Moore2007-2023
Chief judge Glenn Acree2006-2023Gov. Ernie Fletcher
Judge Laurance VanMeter2004-2023
Judge Denise Clayton2007-2023Gov. Ernie Fletcher
Judge James Lambert2007-2023
Judge Michael Caperton2008-2015n/a
Judge Kelly Thompson (Kentucky)2007-2023
Chief Judge Jeff Taylor (Kentucky)2004-2023
Judge Donna Dixon2006-2023Gov. Ernie Fletcher
Judge Christopher Nickell2007-2023
Judge Irv Maze2012-2023Gov. Steve Beshear
Judge Allison Jones2013-2023Gov. Steve Beshear
Judge Debra Hembree Lambert2015-2023

Chief judge

The 14 members of the Court of Appeals select one colleague to serve as Chief judge for a four-year term. The Chief judge assigns judges and cases to panels.

Judicial selection

Two members are selected from each of the seven appellate court districts. Prior to 1976, judges were elected on a partisan ballot. A law passed in 1976 mandates that judicial elections in Kentucky be non-partisan. According to the Kentucky Constitution, "All terms commence on the first Monday in January next succeeding the regular election for the office".[2]


To qualify to run for position of Judge of the Court of Appeals, the candidate must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of both the Commonwealth, and of the district from which he is elected for 2 years next preceding his taking office and licensed to practice law in the courts of the Commonwealth and a licensed attorney for at least 8 years. The candidate must file with the Secretary of State and the filing fee is $200.00.[3]

Removal of judges

Any judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals can be removed by the Judicial Conduct Commission. The Commission is composed of the following:

  • One judge of the Court of Appeals (selected by that court)
  • One District Court judge
  • One Circuit Court judge
  • One member of the Kentucky Bar Association
  • Two persons appointed by the Governor who are not judges or attorneys[4]

Any individual or group may file a complaint[5] against a sitting judge for possible judicial misconduct or wrongdoing.

Alternatively, judges can also be impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the Senate.[6]


Appellate Court Districts

The Kentucky Court of Appeals hears appeals from District and Circuit courts. When losing parties are unsatisfied with the trial court's decision, they can seek review from the Court of Appeals. Cases are not retried by the Court of Appeals, instead the original trial is reviewed and attorneys present legal issues to the Court for a decision.[7] [8]

Criminal case acquittals and divorces can not be appealed, however, child custody and property rights decisions in divorce cases can be appealed.

Cases involving death sentences, life imprisonment, or imprisonment of 20 or more years are appealed directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Original actions can be filed with the Kentucky Court of Appeals under certain situations.

Court of Appeals District Counties Served
First District Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman, Fulton, Graves, McCracken, Calloway, Marshall, Livingston, Crittenden, Lyon, Caldwell, Trigg, Webster, Hopkins, McLean, Muhlenberg, Butler, Edmonson, Christian, Todd, Logan, Simpson and Allen
Second District Union, Henderson, Daviess, Hancock, Ohio, Breckinridge, Meade, Bullitt, Hardin, Grayson, Larue, Hart, Warren and Barren
Third District Nelson, Washington, Marion, Green, Taylor, Casey, Adair, Metcalfe, Russell, Monroe, Cumberland, Clinton, Lincoln, Garrard, Rockcastle, Jackson, Lee, Estill, Pulaski, Laurel, Clay, Leslie, Wayne, McCreary, Whitley, Knox and Bell
Fourth District Jefferson
Fifth District Anderson, Franklin, Scott, Woodford, Fayette, Bourbon, Mercer, Boyle, Jessamine, Clark and Madison
SIxth District Oldham, Trimble, Carroll, Gallatin, Boone, Kenton, Campbell, Pendleton, Spencer, Shelby, Henry, Owen, Grant, Harrison, Bracken, Mason, Robertson, Nicholas, Fleming, Bath and Lewis
Seventh District Montgomery, Powell, Menifee, Rowan, Carter, Greenup, Elliott, Boyd, Lawrence, Wolfe, Morgan, Magoffin, Johnson, Martin, Floyd, Owsley, Breathitt, Perry, Knott, Pike, Harlan, Letcher

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


See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2014
Unopposed  Judge Christopher Nickell (1st District, 1st Division)
Unopposed  Judge Donna Dixon (1st District, 2nd Division)
Unopposed  Judge Jeff Taylor (Kentucky) (2nd District, 1st Division)
2nd District, 2nd Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
OnyekwulujeOsi Onyekwuluje No8.0% 
FlenerMark H. Flener No28.6%ApprovedAExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
ThompsonKelly Thompson (Kentucky) Yes63.4%ApprovedAExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
3rd District, 1st Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
CapertonMichael Caperton YesExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
LambertDebra Hembree Lambert NoExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
3rd District, 2nd Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
HendersonPaul F. Henderson NoExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
LambertJames Lambert YesExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
Unopposed  Judge Irv Maze (4th District, 1st Division)
4th District, 2nd Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
WhetzelStan Whetzel NoExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
ClaytonDenise Clayton YesExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
Unopposed  Judge Laurance VanMeter (5th District, 1st Division)
Unopposed  Judge Glenn Acree (5th District, 2nd Division)
6th District, 1st Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
SandersJustin Sanders NoExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
JonesAllison Jones YesExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
Unopposed  Judge Joy Moore (6th District, 2nd Division)
Unopposed  Judge Sara Combs (7th District, 1st Division)
7th District, 2nd Division
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
StumboJanet Stumbo YesExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   
VarneyW. Kent Varney NoExpression error: Unexpected > operator.   


See also: Kentucky judicial elections, 2012
CandidateIncumbencyPrimary VoteElection Vote
MazeIrv Maze    No40%50.79%   
ShakeJim Shake    No38%49.21%   
Cox PenceRuth Ann Cox Pence    No22%