Judge Martin Sheehan Exhibits Judicial Courage in Throwing Out Bad Law
Kenton District Judge Martin Sheehan has taken a courageous stand in upholding the constitution. In a 37 page decision Judge Sheehan has found that KRS 17.495 is unconstitutional when applied to sex offenders retroactively to restrict the places where they can live. Judge Sheehan provides extensive supporting authorities which provide guidance to others who face similar issues. His decision is very persuasive even though it does not have the power of a precedent on the law involved.
Any case involving a sex offender, is a risky adventure for any judge to consider. Since sex offenders are not a favored constituency to anyone, it takes professional courage for a judge to stand up and apply the law without consideration of what negative effect it might create against him in the closed minds found in any community. Being a candidate for the vacancy on the Kenton Circuit Court, adds an element of risk to the publication of such a decision.
We can only hope that the wiser minds in the Kenton electorate will recognize that they have among their Judges a stand up guy who is not afraid to look a mob in the eye and tell them without flinching, what our founding fathers intended when they wrote the U.S. Constitution.
A lesser judge would have written perhaps a paragraph and rubber stamped a ruling that found for the Commonwealth, and left the heavy lifting for the appellate courts. But Sheehan, has carefully reviewed the law on this case and the result is one of the best written District Court decisions we have ever read…and we have read a lot of them.
The reason a judge takes a risk ruling on a controversial issue such as sex offender residency laws, is because it is their job to do so. Not every judge would have had the back bone to fulfill that duty so well.
For full text of Decision by Kenton District Judge Martin Sheehan discussing Ex Post Facto sex offender residency law. Go to: EX POST FACTO LAWS