2011-SC-000558-RR August 23, 2012
Opinion of the Court by Chief Justice Minton. All sitting. Noble and Schroder, JJ., concur. Venters, J., concurs by separate opinion in which Abramson, J., joins. Cunningham, J., concurs, in part, and dissents, in part, by separate opinion in which Scott, J., joins.
Russell D. Alred, Judge of the 26th Judicial Circuit of Kentucky, became the focus of a lengthy investigation by the Judicial Conduct Commission, culminating in formal charges consisting of twenty allegations of misconduct in office. Following an adversarial hearing on these charges, the commission found official misconduct on nine of the charges and ordered Judge Alred removed from office. On review, the Supreme Court held that (1) Judge Alred was not denied due process; (2) Judge Alred was not denied his rights under the Sixth Amendment; (3) no Commission members were required to disqualify; and (4) Judge Alred was given a sufficient opportunity to examine the factual information before formal proceedings began. The Court upheld the commission’s findings regarding eight counts of misconduct, but reversed the commission’s findings regarding one count. The Court found that Judge Alred engaged in a pattern of misconduct, displaying disregard for the law and the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct. And the Court agreed with the commission that there was good cause under Section 121 of the Kentucky Constitution to remove Judge Alred from his judicial office for misconduct, as defined in the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct.