News: Kentucky Supreme Court denies application to take bar exam by UK Law Graduate who is a registered sex-offendern

Associated Press Reporter Brett Barrouquere has written the following the story about the Kentucky Supreme Court’s denial of a registered sex-offender’s request to take the Kentucky bar examination.  has graduated in the top third of his law school class at the University of Kentucky College of Law.  See post at ABC News.

Although I do not have a copy of the Supreme Court’s opinion, I do have a link to the “case information” page the AOC.  Here is an extract.

12/19/2013     Opinion and Order – Denying: Qd
Opinion and Order Denied Applicant’s Application to Sit for the Bar Examination. Minton, C.J., Abramson, Cunningham, Keller, Noble and Venters, Jj., Concur. Scott, J., Concurs in Result Only.

12/27/2013     Miscellaneous Motions: Mm
Movant Filed Motion for Extension of Time to and Including January 13, 2014 to File Motion to Reconsider. (Due Date: 01/08/2014)

Should some email me the decision, I will post it.

Hamilton-Smith, who was convicted of a charge related to child pornography in 2007, has until Jan. 13 to ask the court to reconsider its decision. In an email, Hamilton-Smith referred Associated Press questions to his attorney, who said the reconsideration request will be filed.

* * *

Hamilton-Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a child in March 2007. He received a five-year prison sentence, which was suspended, and was required to register as a sex offender for 20 years _ until 2027.

After disclosing the conviction and sex offender status on his applications, Chase Law School at Northern Kentucky University and Brandeis Law School at the University of Louisville both rejected him in 2008. But the University of Kentucky College of Law accepted him in 2008 and he graduated in 2011.

Hamilton-Smith later competed on the National Trial Team and National Moot Court Team, and he had a piece published in the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal through the University of California law school.

Since graduating in 2011, Hamilton-Smith has held a non-lawyer position for Baldani, Rowland and Richardson. The Lexington firm has filed letters in support of Hamilton-Smith taking the bar exam, White said. But Hamilton-Smith still has not been cleared by the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions to take the exam that would allow him to practice law.

* * *

Elizabeth Feamster, director and general counsel for the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, did not return phone and email messages seeking comment from AP. But in court filings, Feamster cited the seriousness of the charge as well as Hamilton-Smith’s acknowledgement of sexual addiction and “destructive and harmful behaviors when it comes to sex and sexuality.” Also, law school students are warned early in their legal education that behavioral issues could exclude them from being admitted to the bar, Feamster wrote.

Hamilton-Smith “was aware that he might be allowed into this profession,” Feamster wrote.

For the justices, the nature of the crime defines someone lacking in the “requisite character and fitness” to be admitted to the bar.

“Indeed, our certification could significantly mislead the public into believing that we vouch for (Hamilton-Smith’s) good character,” Minton wrote. “Consequently, a client’s subsequent discovery of the registry listing could then justifiably lead him to question the value of this court’s certification of the good character of those who are permitted to take the bar examination.”

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