Archive for February, 2013

SQUEAL RULE APPLIES TO LAWYER, BAR COUNSEL, & JUDGES

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

DUTY OF ATTORNEYS TO REPORT ETHICAL VIOLATIONS OF OTHER ATTORNEYS – Does this apply to Bar Counsel’s Office? Judges?

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley Feb. 29, 2013

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” *1
We have had sources claim that the Bar Counsel has prosecuted claims against attorneys who have allegedly committed violations of the Rules of Ethics, and have failed to report their own violation. Our research of the Supreme Court Rules find no such rule.

If anyone can cite a rule imposing on an attorney the duty of “self-reporting” his/her own violations, please share their authorities with us.(LawReader has previously published an article discussing Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Rorrer, 222 S.W.3d 223 (Ky., 2007) (See Footnote *2 below). The Rorrer case would appear to grant 5th. Amendment rights to an attorney. The case discusses the right of attorneys not to incriminate themselves. This Supreme Court ruling suggests that it may be unconstitutional to demand that an attorney report his own violations.)

However, there is a rule, SCR 3.130(8.3), known popularly as the” Squeal Rule”, which requires an attorney who has knowledge of an ethical violation of another attorney
to report it to the Bar Counsel’s office. A formal complaint must be signed and notarized. There is no such requirement for merely making a report to the Bar Counsel under the “Squeal Rule” SCR 3.130 (8.3).

The rule states:

“SCR 3.130(8.3) Reporting professional misconduct
(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the Association’s Bar Counsel.

This rule would appear to apply to members of the Board of Governors, attorney Members of the Inquiry Commission, KBA Ethics Trial Commissioners, and attorney employees of the Bar Counsel’s office.

The argument goes that every attorney must report possible ethics violations by “another attorney”. There is no exception to this rule for KBA officials and Bar Counsel office attorneys.
The firing of the Bar Counsel, Linda Gosnell, on November 21, 2011, has not been explained by the KBA Board of Governors, or the KBA President Maggie Keane.
Only the disclosure of the reasons the Board of Governor’s discharged Linda Gosnell will reveal if any members of the KBA or Bar Counsel’s office have failed to comply with SCR 3.130
(8.2).
The possibility, that the Bar Counsel’s office is totally in charge of enforcing SCR 3.130(8.2) against themselves, if they had knowledge of any ethical violations of the former Bar Counsel, is not reassuring.

It appears clear from the reading of the “Squeal Rule” that if any attorney in the Bar Counsel’s office had knowledge of an ethical violation by the former Bar Counsel, that they have a duty to report it to the Bar Counsel’s office. We acknowledge that any pending charge being handled or investigated by the Bar Counsel’s office must remain confidential until the Trial Commissioner had made a finding. Only then could such a charge be disclosed to the public.

Once again this situation brings into question the justification for the secrecy rules protecting the KBA attorney discipline process.

We have no knowledge of any violation of SCR 3.130 (8.2) by anyone. We have no knowledge of any ethical violation by the former Bar Counsel.

We are merely discussing the Supreme Court Rules which appear to be deficient in that they allow a system where the Bar Counsel’s office polices itself.
The possibility of a violation of SCR 3.130(8.2) will likely never be revealed if the KBA continues to refuse to publically announce their reasons for terminating Linda Gosnell.
We would argue that the current Supreme Court Rules regarding attorney discipline procedures are a mess. If the justification for attorney discipline rules are to protect the image of the legal profession, the current process fails miserably. The public and members of the Bar and the public are not likely to be reassured that all ethics violations will be properly investigated.
***
*1-Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase traditionally attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires (Satire VI, lines 347–8), which is literally translated as
“Who will guard the guards themselves?”

Also sometimes rendered as “Who watches the watchmen?”, the phrase has other idiomatic translations and adaptations such as “Who will watch the watch-guards?” In modern usage, it is frequently associated with the political philosophy of Plato and the problem of political corruption. – Wikipedia

*2-Kentucky Supreme Court Suggests Attorney Defending Against Ethics Complaint May Demand His Rights Under 5th. Amendment Not To Incriminate Himself
–>
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Rorrer, 222 S.W.3d 223 (Ky., 2007)
Rorrer poses a more difficult question on his conviction for failing to
respond to the KBA’s request for information. Although his criminal conviction
had been finalized, Rorrer was in the process of appealing his sentence
during much of the attorney discipline process. And Rorrer’s response to the
charges against him alleged that he did not answer the initial complaint because
he wanted to exercise his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.
But Rorrer did not raise this self-incrimination argument until after the
Inquiry Commission had issued the charges.
Obviously, each attorney is obligated to respond to the KBA’s
lawful request for information involved in a disciplinary
investigation.12 But the Fifth Amendment guarantees each person a
right to avoid self-incrimination.13 In certain cases, therefore,
there is a conflict between an attorney’s obligation under SCR 3.130(8.1)(b)
to respond to a lawful request for information in an attorney discipline matter
and the attorney’s constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination.

KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION

Ethics Opinion KBA E-430 Issued: January 16, 2010

SUBJECT: A LAWYER’S DUTY TO REPORT PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT OF OTHER LAWYERS AND JUDGES

Question I: Under what circumstances does SCR 3.130 (8.3) impose a duty to
report professional misconduct of others?
Answer: See discussion in Section I.

Question II: When does a lawyer “know” that a violation has occurred?
Answer: See discussion in Section II.

Question III: What constitutes a “substantial question” under Rule 8.3?
Answer: See discussion in Section III.

Question IV: Does a lawyer have a duty to report conduct unrelated to the
practice of law or to judicial duties?
Answer: See discussion in Section IV.

Question V: Does a lawyer have a duty to report information protected by SCR
3.130(1.6) or other law, or information received in the course of
participation in the Kentucky Lawyer Assistance Program
(KYLAP) or the Ethics Hotline?
Answer: See discussion in Section V.

Question VI: Does a lawyer have a duty to self-report his or her own misconduct
or that of an associate?
Answer: See discussion in Section VI.

Question VII: Does a lawyer have a duty to report the misconduct of a suspended
or disbarred lawyer?
Answer: See discussion in Section VII.
Question VIII: Does a prosecutor have additional responsibilities under Rule 8.3?
2
Answer: See discussion in Section VIII.

Question IX: Is the reporting lawyer immune from civil or criminal liability?
Answer: See discussion in Section IX.

Question X: What are the procedures for reporting a violation and when must
the report be made?
Answer: See discussion in Section X.

References: SCR 3.130 (Preamble); SCR 3.130 (1.0) (Terminology); SCR
3.130 (1.5) SCR 3.130 (1.6); SCR 3.130 (3.3); SCR 3.130 (4.1);
SCR 3.130 (5.3); SCR 3.130 (5.5); SCR 3.130 (8.3); SCR 3.130
(8.4); SCR 3.166; SCR 3.453; SCR 3.470; SCR 3.530; SCR 3.990;
Clay v. Kentucky Bar Ass’n, 290 S.W.3d 652 (Ky. 2009);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Bierbauer, 282 S.W.3d 318 (Ky. 2009);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Marcum, 292 S.W.3d 317 (Ky. 2009);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Matthews, 291 S.W.3d 236 (Ky. 2009);
Radolovich v. Kentucky Bar Ass’n, 282 S.W.3d 327 (Ky. 2009);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Hawkins, 260 S.W.3d 337 (Ky. 2008);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Hammond, 241 S.W.3d 310 (2007);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Rice, 229 S.W.3d 903 (Ky. 2007);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Vanmeter, 176 S.W.3d 692 (Ky.
2005);Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Hall, 173 S.W.3d 621 (Ky. 2005);
Kentucky Bar Ass’n v. Layton, 97 S.W.3d 452 (Ky. 2003); In re
Riehlmann, 891 So.2d 1239 (La. 2005); In the Matter of Galmore,
530 S.E.2d 378 (S.C. 2000); In re Rivers, 331 S.E.2d 332 (S.C.
1984); ABA Formal Op. 04-433 (2004); ABA Formal Op. 03-431
(2003); Pa. Eth. Op. 2008-12(2008); Oh. Adv. Op. 2007-1 (2007);
S.C. Adv. Op. 05-21 (2005); Or. Eth. Op. 2005-95(2005); S.C.
Adv. Op. 02-15 (2002); S.C. Adv. Op. 02-14 (2002); N.C. Eth. Op.
5 (2001);Ct. Eth. Op. 00-01 (2000); Ct. Eth. Op. 01-04 (2001); Pa.
Eth. Op. 99-53 (1999); Ct. Eth. Op. 97-30 (1997); Ct. Eth. Op. 96-
20 (1996); KBA E-265 (1982).

Introduction
Under the recent amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct,1 SCR 3.130 (8.3),2
Kentucky lawyers now have an ethical obligation to report certain types of ethical
misconduct of other lawyers and judges. The obligations imposed by the rule are
designed to preserve the integrity of the profession and to assure public confidence in the
judicial system. Because the legal profession has the privilege of self-regulation it has

1 Kentucky Supreme Court Order Amending Rules of the Supreme Court 2009-5, issued April 16, 2009,
made substantial changes in the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct, SCR 3.130. The Rule changes
became effective July 15, 2009. 2 Hereinafter referred to as “Rule 8.3.”
the corresponding responsibility of assuring that the profession’s high standards are
respected. Rule 8.3 reflects that privilege and responsibility.3

In many circumstances, lawyers are in the best position to know of another lawyer’s
misconduct and to minimize its consequences to others. Not only do lawyers know the
standards by which lawyers and judges are expected to conduct themselves, lawyers also
work closely with them and may be the first ones actually to observe the acts of
misconduct. In many cases, the victim of the misconduct may not even be aware of it.

As officers of the legal system, lawyers must take the affirmative responsibility to assure
that both the bench and bar maintain the highest standards, and to assure that those who
do not conform to these standards are disciplined. It is only by taking an active role in
the disciplinary process that the profession is deserving of the public’s trust and
confidence.

The reason for the reporting obligation is summarized in the Preamble to Kentucky’s
Rules of Professional Conduct:

XIII. The legal profession’s relative autonomy carries with it special
responsibilities of self-government. The profession has a responsibility to assure
that its regulations are conceived in the public interest and not in furtherance of
parochial or self-interested concerns of the bar. Every lawyer is responsible for
observance of the Rules of Professional Conduct. A lawyer should also aid in
securing their observance by other lawyers. Neglect of these responsibilities
compromises the independence of the profession and the public interest which it
serves.4
Many questions have been raised about the rule’s application. For example, must
lawyers report all violations of the rules? How much does a lawyer have to know before
the duty to report is triggered? How does confidentiality affect the obligation? Do
lawyers have to report themselves? Do lawyers have to report partners or associates?
These are all questions that lawyers may encounter as they seek to understand the
implications of the new rule. It should be emphasized that every situation is different;
thus lawyers will need to carefully analyze each situation independently. This opinion is
designed to provide a framework for that analysis. In questionable cases, lawyers should
seek further advice from their District Member of the Ethics Hotline.

I. Under what circumstances does Rule 8.3 impose a duty to report professional
misconduct of others?

“The duty to report misconduct of another lawyer or judge does not arise every time one
thinks a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct may have occurred. Rule 8.3
imposes the obligation to report only under certain limited circumstances. The full text of
Rule 8.3 reads as follows:
3 ABA Formal Op. 04-433 (2004).
4 SCR 3.130 (Preamble).
4

ANGELA FORD AND SETH JOHNSON, FORMERLY (??) CO-COUNSEL IN THE BOONE COUNTY FEN PHEN CIVIL TRIAL CONTINUE THEIR FIGHT.

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

By LawReader Feb. 23, 2013
Attorney Seth Johnson and Johnson Legal, PSC. ON Dec. 17, 2012 filed a response to Angela Ford’s motion to strike Johnson’s answer and counterclaim to her original Complaint.
The pleading of Johnston was styled:
Angela Ford v. Johnston Legal PSC, et al, Fayette Circuit Court Case No. 12-CI-3758.
“MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN OPPOSITION TO MOTIN TO STRIKE ANSWER AND COUINTERCLAIM”
At Page 4:
“Ford acknowledges that she voluntarily transferred approximately $3,500,000 to Johnston’s control in mid-2011. The unanswerable, glaring question is response to Ms. Ford’s specious, false allegation that Johnston stole that money is “Why did you voluntarily give it to him in the first place?” Ford has offered no satisfactory answer to that question. That is because Ford does not wish the truth to be disclosed—that she incorporated Mr. Johnston as an unwitting participant in an effort to keep anyone from knowing precisely where Ford had invested or otherwise stowed case.”

In other pleadings Johnston argues that Ford used him to set up LLC’s in which she intended to hide her assets in case the reversal of the Court of Appeals in the Boone County civil case was upheld by the Ky. Sup. Court. That appeal is still pending.
Ford allegedly collected $42 million dollars in assets from the original Fen Phen defendants, and supposedly kept $12 million for attorney fees and costs which she shared with other attorneys. She has apparently distributed all of the $42 million dollars, and the lack of finality of the Boone Circuit case understandably appears to be of concern to her.
She continues to refuse to disclose the names of other attorneys who helped her seize these assets and who were on her pay roll, and she refuses to disclose how much the other attorneys were paid. Johnston was identified in these civil proceedings as having helped collect money for Ford. Perhaps he will disclose the names of the other attorneys who helped him collect the $42 million. Rumors persist of one Lexington attorney who collected “seven figures”.. but his name has not been disclosed..

Immediate Opening: Administrative Assistant/Judicial Secretary for Campbell Court Circuit Judge

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Immediate Opening: Administrative Assistant/Judicial Secretary

To Judge Fred A. Stine, V

Campbell County Circuit Court, Division II

Salary to be determined.

Education: Minimum–high school graduate or GED; paralegal degree preferred.

Responsibilities include managing portions of the criminal and civil dockets; interacting with criminal justice professionals, the bar, and the public; assisting judge in court; and serving as chambers’ receptionist and judge’s secretary.

Must be highly organized, proficient (high volume) in Microsoft Word/Office applications, and able to work well independently and in a small office environment.

Please submit letter and resume to elizabethmccord@kycourts.net by March 8, 2013.

SETH JOHNSTON ANSWER IN ANGELA FORD LAW SUIT

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

CLICK THIS LINK ON HOME PAGE: SETH JOHNSTON ANSWER IN ANGELA FORD LAW SUIT Angela Ford filed a civil suit against her former co-counsel Seth Johnson. last August. on Oct. 30, 2012 johnston filed the following answer and counterclaim.

In the meantime Johnston was indicted by the federal government on drug distribution related charges.
This pleading suggests that Angela Ford was attempting to hide her assets from potential creditors due her loss of a civil case in the fen phen case when the ct. of appeals reversed the summary judgment in her favor.
Ford reportedly claims Johnston mishandled $3.6 million dollars of her money…Johnston denies this, and his description of her conduct at least to us is very compelling.
Speculation is rampart that his indictment is the first step of the u.s. government in seeking his cooperation in the government’s effort to obtain a distribution list from ford which identifies how much money she distributed and to whom, from her seizures in the Boone Circuit Court case.
That case is currently on appeal to the Ky. Supreme Court

TO READ FULL 22 PAGE TEXT OF JOHNSTON ANSWER AND COUNTERCLAIM AGAINST ANGELA FORD GO TO “SETH JOHNSTON ANSWER IN ANGELA FORD LAW SUIT” AT TOP OF HOME PAGE.
.

LAWREADER HAS OBTAINED A COPY OF AN ALLEGED ANSWER AND COUNTERCLAIM IN THE ANGELA FORD CIVIL SUIT AGAINST SETH JOHNSTON. It is alleged by her former co-counsel, that Ford was trying to “insulate her assets” from potential creditors by setting up foreign companies.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Seth Johnston Files Counterclaim and Answer Against Angela Ford
By LawReader Feb. 20, 2013

Seth Johnston has been indicted for having drug transactions in foreign companies….it is not alleged in this answer and counterclaim that either Ford of Johnston were involved in a drug deal. But if Johnston is offered “consideration” by the Government, to reveal Ford’s knowledge…there is no telling what might be disclosed. We don’t know…and can only wait until more information is confirmed to us.
Our sources indicated that at one hearing the Trial Judge had sealed the Answer…but this copy bears no reference to any official sealing. LawReader cannot confirm the validity of this pleading but it surelooks like the real thing, and we can’t think of any reason for someone to write a 22 page hoax.

This pleading is date in October 30th. of 2012. There is no indication on the pleading that it was sealed by the trial judge.
In this pleading it is alleged that Ford became aware that her summary judgment obtained in Boone County was not final due to a pending appeal to the Ky. Court of Appeals. Johnston alleges that she became nervous and upon learning of his talent at setting up money-making foreign business ventures, she wanted to have him set her up with the intent of providing herself some insulation from future creditors…
The Ct. of Appeals set aside the Boone County Judgement and Ford proceeded with her efforts to have Johnston help her “insulate” her assets from her creditors. Reports on the street, allege that Ford transferred about $3.6 million dollars to Johnston to invest for her.

The Ky. Supreme Court has had the Ford appeal of the Ct. of Appeals ruling for about 13 months and a decision is anticipated shortly.

While the pleading does not mention it, the Kentucky Appealate courts in 2011 granted judgment against Ford’s clients in a case where the court found that the statute of limitaitons was violated by the plaintiff’s attorney (Angela Ford) to the detriment of Ford’s some 30 clients. If that case stayed in that configuration then Ford potentially faced large malpractice claims in the millions.

LawReader HAS PUIBLISHED THIS ENTIRE 22 PAGE PLEADNG ON ITS HOME PAGE….
LOOK FOR LINK AT TOP OF HOME PAGE OF LAWREADER.

EXCERPTS FROM CIVIL COMPLAINT FILED BY ANGELA FORD AGAINST ATTORNEY SETH J. JOHNSON IN FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT –Trial judge ordered defendants answer in civil case to be sealed…everyone is asking “how this could be done?”

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
22nd JUDICIAL DISTRICT
FAYETTE COUNtyL
DI VISION_22

CASE NO

ANGELA FORD PLAINTIFF

Vs.

JOHNSTON LEGAL PSC and SETH. JOHNSTON DEFENDANTS

Angela has fought the U.S. Attorney’s office for two years in an effort to avoid having to provide and accounting to the Government regarding her handling of Fen Phen money. It is reported to LawReader that Seth Johnson was hired to help collect some $42 million in Fen Phen money for Ford. In this civil suit she alleges he mishandled “her money” and we conclude this refers to the Fen Phen money she claimed.

Nevertheless Ms. Ford now asks the Fayette Circuit Court to order “an accounting of funds” from Seth Johnson. In her civil complaint she does not mention “Fen Phen” .

The Ford vs. Johnston civil law suit was filed on August 16, 2012. Johnston was indicted by the Federal Government on Feb. 7, 2013.

The talk on the street speculates that a byproduct of the indictment is that the U.S. Attorney who indicted Johnston may be to encourage Johnston to disclose information about Ford that they have been seeking for years.

That might include the question: “Who did Ford share her Fen Phen legal fees with? Who did she pay and how much did she pay them? “ This case and other related cases, and even the Fen Phen criminal case will be under a cloud of accusations and doubt until it is disclosed how the $42 million dollars in Fen Phen funds seized by Ford was distributed.

The pending appeal before the Ky. Supreme Court which is reviewing the ruling of the Ky. Ct. of Appeals could have overwhelming consequences. If they overrule the Ct. of Appeals the argument is that they improperly considered new facts…..and if they uphold the Ct. of Appeals then how will they ever put the genie back in the bottle and recover the $42 million Ford has admitted she has seized and distributed.

A reliable source says that the Fayette Circuit Judge assigned to the case, Hon. Tom Clark, has ordered that the ANSWER filed by Johnston against Ford be sealed. Previously reports about a counterclaim being sealed was incorrect. A better source absolutely confirmed that it was Johnstons ANSWER to Ford’s complaint which was ordered to be sealed.

This order was issued at the request of Angela Ford. Mention was made of a surety bond to be posted by Ford for her requested temporary restraining order which limited Johnston’s handling of certain bank accounts. The bond was said to have been set at $800,000, then was reduced by the court to “$100,000.” The TRO pleading viewed by LawReader says $500,000 surety only was required.

One Lexington Attorney expressed dismay at the court ordering an answer in a civil case to be sealed and hidden from the public. The comment was made, that “Ford has been allowed to get away with legal murder.”

Reports on the street suggest that the answer against Ford is highly critical of her and one source referred to it as “nasty”. We understood this to imply that it was a very accusatory and unfriendly pleading particularly coming from Ford’s former co-counsel in the Boone County Fen Phen civil case.

LawReader recognizes the Supreme Court has adopted a so-called “squeal rule” requiring all attorneys to report any ethics violations to the Bar Counsel’s office. If the civil answer is as bad as claimed in making accusations, then perhaps the Squeal Rule requires anyone in possession of the Answer to file a copy with the KBA and the Bar Counsel’s Office.

LawReader confirmed with one source that the Answer filed by Johnston was actually sealed by order of the trial judge. The attorney refused to discuss the accusations contained in the Answer out of concern that he might be in violation of Judge Clark’s order sealing the answer.

LawReader has not seen the formal answer but would be glad to publish it if anyone having a copy will send it to us. (Fax: 502-732-4631)

We do not allege any improper or unethical action by the Trial Judge, but we do raise the question that after discussing this legal issue with many lawyers and former judges, none have come up with authority for an answer in a civil case of this type to be officially sealed and hidden from the public.

Many members of the bar would appreciate some guidance from Judge Clark as to the justification for the sealing of an Answer. We have no doubt that many hundreds of plaintiff’s lawyers would love to exercise such a legal theory to silence the defendants in civil suits. LawReader will reserve 100 pages for Judge Clark to publish his reasons for sealing the Answer of Seth Johnston. We will not edit his comments.

We make the same offer to Angela Ford and to Seth Johnston and their attorneys.

Relevant paragraphs of the Ford civil lawsuit against Johnston state:

“On or about November 2010 Defendant Johnston left Miller Wells and opened his own law office Johnston Legal PSC Since that time Defendants have improperly deposited or transferred funds belonging to Plaintiff into accounts at banks and escrow companies under his own name or the name of entities and individuals unknown to Plaintiff .”

“9. Plaintiff is entitled to Declaratory Judgment that she is the sole owner of the funds in question and the owner of any property purchased with the funds or any investment made with the funds and requests speedy hearing pursuant to the Kentucky rule of CIVIL Procedure Rule 57. (emphasis added by LawReader)

(LawReader comment: A federal indictment of Johnston (Feb. 4, 2013) alleged that the items he purchased included $100,000 of “synthetic marihuana”….Is Ford claiming possession of the drugs if it is proven that Johnson did indeed purchase drugs…or is this an indication that when she filed the civil suit she didn’t know how Johnston was spending his money?)

“To this date neither Defendant Johnston nor his attorney has responded to requests to provide Plaintiff with an accounting of funds.”

“11. Plaintiff is entitled to full and complete accounting of all funds and is entitled to know the current location of all such funds.”

“b. Enter an Order requiring Defendants to provide full and complete accounting of all funds including all bank statements investment documents and property purchases and the location of all such funds.”

The Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Court stated:

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Defendants and his agents are hereby prevented restrained and enjoined from withdrawing transferring or otherwise dissipating any funds presently on deposit at the following banks including but not limited to accounts with funds traceable to checks from Plaintiff or an entity owned by Plaintiff

American Founders Bank Inc
Central Bank Trust Co
Fifth Third Bank Inc.
First Security Bank Trust of Owensboro
JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A
U.S Bank NA
PNC Bank”

Entered and effective this the 17th. Day of August 2012
(Surety bond $500,000). (This TRO bond was reported to have been reduced to $100,000 without surety.)

Distribution

Angela Ford Esq
Chevy Chase Plaza
836 Euclid Avenue Ste 311
Lexington KY 40502

Seth Johnston Registered Agent
Johnston Legal PSC
250 West Main Street Suite 3010
Lexington KY 40507
Seth Johnston
250 West Main Street Suite 3010
Lexington KY 40507

Seth Johnston
233 St Margaret Drive
Lexington KY 40402

ATTORNEY ERIC CONN AND SOCIAL SECURITY HEARING OFFICER DAVID DAUGHERTY SUED OVER HANDLING OF AWARDS

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

“This is an action to recover fraudulently obtained disability benefits and
attorneys’ fees paid by the United States of America to Eric C. Conn and Eric Conn, P.S.C. (collectively “Conn”). The disability benefits and attorneys’ fees obtained by Conn
which are the subject of this qui tam all originate from a fraudulent scheme coordinated
between Conn and a social security administrative law judge named David B. Daugherty
(“Daugherty”). The fraudulent scheme involved Daugherty wrongfully taking control of
a high number of Conn’s clients’ Social Security disability claims from randomly assigned
administrative law judges and conducting sham proceedings, resulting in the Conn
clients overwhelmingly and fraudulently obtaining successful results.”

GO TO “CONN & DAUGHERTY SUED” ON FRONT PAGE OF LAWREADER TO ACCESS THE ENTIRE 27 PAGE CIVIL COMPLAINT.

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
SOUTHERN DIVISION AT PIKEVILLE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. 
Jennifer L. GRIFFITH and 
Sarah CARVER, 

Plaintiffs 

v.  Civil No. ________

Eric C. CONN,  FILED UNDER SEAL
ERIC CONN, P.S.C., and 
David B. DAUGHERTY, 

Defendants. 

COMPLAINT
The United States of America, by and through its qui tam Relators, Jennifer L.
Griffith (Griffith) and Sarah Carver (Carver) (collectively, the Relators) brings this action
under the Federal False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3729‐3733, et seq., against Eric Conn,
Eric Conn, P.S.C., and David B. Daugherty, to recover all damages, penalties, and other
remedies provided by the False Claims Act on behalf of the United States and the
Relators, and for their Complaint allege:

Legislation would update Kentucky’s ‘outdated’ child support guidelines

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Published: February 18, 2013
Fayette Family Court Judge Lucinda Masterton is pushing for legislation that will change Kentucky’s child support guidelines.
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears — vhoneycutt@herald-leader.com
A Fayette County judge will go to Frankfort on Tuesday to tell state lawmakers they should overhaul Kentucky’s “outdated” child-support guidelines.
Legislation, scheduled for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, is aimed at updating the guidelines, which reflect child-rearing costs in the 1980s.
Fayette Family Court Judge Lucinda Masterton said that when parents ask her what specific data the state uses for its child-support guideline tables, “I have to sheepishly say, ‘They are based on data from 1987 about what it took to raise children.’ It makes the whole system look like we are outdated, that we are a dinosaur.”
Masterton, chair of the state Child Support Guidelines Review Commission, is a vocal proponent of two similar bills introduced this month in the state House and Senate.
“People do make different decisions about what they spend, how much they spend on their children and how they spend it than they did in 1987,” she said.
As an example of the differences, said University of Kentucky economics professor Ken Troske, “In the mid-1980s most parents did not buy laptop computers and cellphones for their kids. Now they do.”
Troske headed a 2008 study for the state Child Support Guidelines Review Commission that suggested the state adopt a different model based on a more recent analysis of parental spending patterns. The relative prices of goods have changed, he said.
Information from that study is reflected in the proposed legislation, introduced as Senate Bill 87 by Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, and as House Bill 169, by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville. HB 169 is scheduled to be heard Tuesday.
In addition to electronics, Troske said in an interview, parents might pay for athletic equipment for school sports teams, an expense that previously had been absorbed by the schools.
In Kentucky, the state’s child-support guideline tables take into account the number of children and the combined monthly parental gross income — the total family income. The guidelines include data on the spending patterns of the average family.
A parent might not necessarily have to pay more child support under the proposed update.
Under one example, if both parents made a combined gross monthly income of $5,000, the amount suggested in the legislation that both parents spend on one child would increase from a total of $676 to $732.
The proposed legislation also would address another problem: Kentucky child-support laws do not account for the increasing number of children who are dividing their time equally or almost equally between their parents.
The proposed legislation says the court may adjust the amount of child support if there is a shared parenting order that grants one parent physical custody of a child for more than 109 days a year.
Lexington attorney Anita Britton said a change was needed to reflect child-sharing patterns. It’s rare to see the old model, where children visit with the non-custodial parent only every other weekend. That is especially true when two parents live in the same county or in nearby counties.
No group has gone on record as opposing the legislation.
“I think this issue needs to be updated,” House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said through a spokesman.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, has not had an opportunity to review the bills, his spokeswoman, Lourdes Baez-Schrader, said.
Angie Anton, director of the Jefferson County Attorney Child Support Division, said that in setting child-support obligations, there are two competing concerns: whether the custodial parent will receive consistent and reliable payments and whether the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a fair and reasonable amount.
“Both sides should be assured that the amount is based upon current data on the cost of raising children,” said Anton. “I hope that updated guidelines will assure parents that their orders are based on tangible, current data and consequently, lead to increased payments and collections for their children.”

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/02/18/2521918/legislation-would-update-kentuckys.html#emlnl=AM_update#storylink=cpy

ANGELA FORD’s CO-COUNSEL IN PENDING KY. SUPREME COURT APPEAL, INDICTED ON FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES – Is Plea Bargain Possible?

Monday, February 18th, 2013

By LawReader.com – Feb. 18, 2013

Angela M. Ford’s Co-Counsel in the Boone County Fen Phen case, currently on appeal to Ky. Supreme Court, Seth J. Johnston, was Indicted Feb. 7, 2013 by the U.S. Government. He was charged in the indictment for Drug Offenses including distributing synthetic marihuana and other drug related counts. He apparently was also indicted on charges involving giving false evidence to the Government and encouraging another witness not to testify against him.
Seth Johnson was co-counsel with Angela Ford In behalf of some 400 Fen Phen plaintiffs, who were granted a summary judgment in Circuit Court.

Ford reportedly seized some $42 million dollars from Gallion, Cunningham, and Melbourne Mills as a result of the Boone County summary judgment. The Ky. Court of Appeals set aside the judgment and ordered a new trial for the defendants. Ford and Johnson requested discretionary review by the Ky. Supreme Court, and that motion was granted and the case is still pending in the Ky. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Attorney’s office has been trying to get an accounting from Angela Ford about her handling of the $42 million she seized including a distribution list of the names of attorneys she shared fees with. It has been argued that Ford should not have seized and disbursed the $42 million dollars when the underlying summary judgment was on appeal. LawReader has been searching for close to two years to obtain tha names of the attorneys with whom Angela Ford shared the alleged $12 million. She admitted sharing fen phen money with other attorneys in a Courier Journal interview by Andy Wolfson.

The Ct. of Appeals reversal listed Angela M. Ford and Seth J. Johnston as co-counsel in the Mills v. Abbot case currently on appeal to the Ky. Supreme Court:
Court of Appeals of Kentucky.

MILLS v. ABBOTT
No. 2009–CA–001114–MR. — June 24, 2011

“Before LAMBERT and NICKELL, Judges;  SHAKE,Senior Judge.

David M. Cross, Albany, KY, for appellants.Seth J. Johnston, Angela M. Ford, Lexington, KY, for appellees.”
There are currently two civil lawsuits pending in Fayette Circuit Court in which Johnston Legal , PSC, and Seth J. Johnston are defendants. 12-CI-03758 Angela Ford vs. Johnston Legal PSC, and Witt, Roger, et al VS. Johnston, Seth J. 12-CI-02413.

Johnston and Ford are still listed by the Court of Appeals as co-counsel in the Abbott v. Mills suit pending in the Ky. Supreme Court. The two have apparently fallen out with each other since Ford has apparently filed a civil suit against Johnston.

LawReader’s call to Johnston Legal PSC was not answered but a voice mail message was left with a request that they respond to our questions about whether Seth J. Johnson was associated with Johnston Legal PSC in Lexington. The web site for the firm listed only one female associate.

We could not find a current listing on the KBA Bench & Bar membership site for Seth J. Johnston.

It is reported to LawReader that after Ford sued Seth J. Johnston he filed a “nasty” counterclaim against Ford. It is alleged that the trial judge has sealed the counterclaim filed by Seth Johnson against Angela Ford.
LawReader knows of no authority for a Circuit Court to seal a counterclaim in a civil suit. We invite the Judge or anyone to explain to us the authority for sealing a civil counterclaim.

LawReader sources suggest that the lawsuit filed by Angela Ford was for the recovery of funds she “earned” from her Fen Phen case which were given to Johnston. It is alleged that some of the Ford money was used by Johnston for the purchase of synthetic marihuana and related charges. The indictment mentions Johnston paid out $100,000 for the synthetic marihuana.
It is speculated by those close to the Fen Phen case that the indictment against Johnston may be an effort by the U.S. Government to “encourage” Mr. Johnston to provide them information which they have not been able to otherwise obtain for themselves.

One source suggested that Johnston and the other 7 defendants (most with foreign sounding names) face up to 30 years and a million dollar fine, if they are convicted.

LOCKED DOORS, SAFETY TRAINING AND REMOTE CAR STARTERS GO A LONG WAY TO PROTECT LAWYERS, EXPERT SAYS

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Law Practice Management – ABA Journal Posted Feb 13, 2013 8:57 AM CST
By Martha Neil
After this week’s courthouse shootings in Delaware as well as other recent high-profile slayings including the execution-style killing of a Texas prosecutor and an opponent’s fatal attack on a lawyer and client leaving a mediation session in Arizona, many are wondering what can be done to stop such violence.
The jury is still out on whether attacks in a legal setting are on the upswing. The executive director of the state bar of Arizona, John F. Phelps, says in an opinion piece published by the Arizona Republic that a survey done by a Utah lawyer suggests there has been an increase. And, following the death of lawyer Mark Hummels, who was killed last month by an opposing party in a Phoenix mediation matter, the president of the State Bar of Arizona plans to ask its 22,000 members whether they have been threatened or attacked.
Anthony C. Roman, who heads a New York firm that does investigative work for corporations and insurance companies, tells the ABA Journal he believes there is simply more publicity about such attacks than there used to be.
Regardless of who’s right, however, there can be no disagreement that any level of violence against attorneys and others involved in the legal system is unacceptable. There’s also little, if any question, about who’s most likely to be targeted: Criminal defense lawyers, family law attorneys, litigators and others involved in dispute resolutions in which individuals’ emotions may run high.
Roman says his firm is regularly called upon to offer safety advice to attorneys and law firms, as well as other businesses, and he had a number of suggestions about best practices that should be implemented. However, privacy advocates may quail at some of his ideas.
First, he says, lawyers involved in any kind of trial or dispute resolution practice need to understand that they—and potentially their families—are in a special-risk category of potential targets for harassment or worse.
Second, it’s important to be aware of one’s surroundings and alert to signs and symptoms of agitation, so they can be dealt with before they escalate. Many people do these things instinctively, but training can help individuals act optimally.
Safety measures for law firms, like courthouses, include secure doors that are not open to the public unless and until individuals are OK’d by reception personnel, Roman says. Once buzzed in, visitors should always be escorted and should wear a color-coded badge, and law office workers at all levels should be trained to politely question anyone who is not wearing a visitor’s badge.
Optimally, both courthouses and law firms would have perimeter cameras equipped with smart technology that allows them to recognize license plates and faces.
In addition to identifying specific individuals who are thought to pose a threat to the facility in question, smart technology also allows cameras to check visitors against databases. These can include not only known violent offenders and terrorists but white-collar offenders such as money-launderers, Roman says, pointing out that law firms need to know their clients and can be at risk if they don’t.
In the office and at outside meetings, particularly when adverse parties are present, efforts should be made to recognize and defuse situations in which anyone seems to be getting agitated, and there should be a plan for handling such issues. Taking a break, or perhaps even recessing until a future date, can make a big difference. If need be, unarmed or armed security can be arranged for the next meeting.
“Those very simple things can go a very long way in avoiding many of the casualties and injuries we see against attorneys,” Roman says.
He recommends background investigations of parties before negotiations begin as an excellent way to identify whether there could be a safety issue, based on a previous history of problem behavior.
Signs that an employee is severely stressed or, say, making threatening remarks also should be addressed. “Those kind of things are often ignored and pooh-poohed,” Roman says. “They shouldn’t be.”
Dealt with early on, such situations can much more easily be defused, he says, when a problem is “in its very early stages and hasn’t escalated emotionally.”
Outside the office, lawyers should have remote starters for their vehicles, he continues, and quality security systems in their homes that alert when someone crosses the perimeter of the property, accesses a door, a window or the basement, or breaks a window. Systems that transmit to a cell tower are more secure than those that use only a land line, since a land line can be cut to prevent an alarm from being sent.
Not only adult family members but children can be trained in a matter-of-fact way to be alert to their surroundings, know their location at all times and have a cellphone immediately at hand. That also goes for their nannies or any other caregivers, and schools should be advised to take care, too.
With his own children, such awareness “just became a part of their life,” Roman said. “They were never particularly afraid, they were just informed.”

JUDGE BENHAM SIMS Ret. CALLS FOR EXPUNGEMENT REFORM AND EXPLAINS SB 79

Friday, February 15th, 2013

By Benham Sims – Feb. 15, 2013

I was surprised to learn today that 1/2 of all the Appeals Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell’s office filed last year were Appeals to expungements orders.

Can you imagine any other prosecutor in the United States devoting that much time to object to people trying to move on with their lives, wanting to get a job to provide for their family?

According to the Clerk’s office the County Attorney appealed about 50 cases in 2011. In 2012, the County Attorney filed 147 Appeals! Almost 70 appeals were Expungements-that represents 20% more expungement appeals then all the criminal appeals filed by his office the year before!

If O’Connell was really interested in seeking guidance from the court-why did he not ask the Supreme Court for a Certification of the Law? For those of us who are lawyers, the answer is obvious. Most of the Appeals involve people who were not represented by lawyers, who cannot afford a protracted legal fight that will cost them thousands of dollars and take years to be resolved by standard appeals, and do not want to risk public scrutiny of a mistake they committed years ago. His legal tactic is to bleed out those seeking to expunge. There is no other explanation and there is no excuse. His behavior in one word can be summed up as “disgusting”

The Courier Journal criticized O’Connell’s position (See editorial copied below). The original sponsor of the Expungement Statute House Judiciary Chairman, Mike Bowling called O’Connell’s position “absolutely ridiculous…the who reason we wrote the law was to help people move on”. After much public and private criticism, he assured Labor that he would address this issue in the General Assembly.

As an interested person who incurred Mike’s wrath including several ugly comments in letters to Labor I was most interested in his response. Most elected officials when called on the public carpet for their mistake, call a group of interested people, including often critics of their policy, to work together to address the problem. O’Connell did not do this. Instead of rescending his policy as advocated by Labor and the Courier Journal, and working with labor to address the issues and problems with Kentucky’s antiquated expungement laws, O’Connell merely drafted a bill that addressed the violation language issue and nothing else. A cynical person may say that all he did was provide statutory coverage for his policy change. http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13RS/HB50.htm

I am writing to you to ask for your help in order that we may together help thousands of other Kentucky families. Sixty Five million Americans have a criminal record-that translates to one in four adults who have some offense on their criminal background. Today, ninety six percent (96%) of all employers run criminal background checks on job applicants. Fifty percent (50%) of the employers will not even offer an interview to someone with a criminal background. Their application or resume is as good as in the garbage. A new disturbing trend involves employers running criminal background checks on current employees. In today’s society you cannot volunteer at your daughter’s school, on your son’s little league team, or at your church without a background check. Many of my clients do not want the school receptionist or the Little League Manager to know if they have a petty offense from years ago. Misdemeanor and violation convictions were never meant to be a life time sentence, but with a few clicks of an employer’s computer mouse your life’s mistakes can be exposed to all.

Kentuckians have a unique ability to understand what is fair. In our criminal justice system we need to act likewise. We should allow those who commit minor crimes to pay their debt to society, learn from their mistakes, change their behavior and move on with their lives. What parent has told their 17 year old, “You can’t go to prom, because when you were 12 your were disobedient!” A parent does punish conduct that occurred years ago because it would not be fair, it would not be proportional, and it would not cause the desired correction. For too long, we in this state have failed to address a growing problem of our fellow citizens being denied good paying jobs with good benefits because our expungement laws were drafted years before the internet age. I am asking you to help me educateour State Senators and State Representatives.

Last week State Senators Julie Denton, Robin Webb, Denise Harper Angel, Kathy Stein filed Senate Bill 79 that reforms and modernizes Kentucky’s expungement law. They will need your help in securing the support of other State Senators and State Representatives. In certain circumstances, and after judicial review, Senate Bill 79 law will permit those who have more then one charge on their record to secure an expungement of a violation or misdemeanor 5 years after a finding of guilt by the court. Under the new law, a plea or pleas to a minor crimes will no longer be a life sentence. I have attached a copy of the bill for your review. http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13RS/SB79.htm The bill will only pass if citizens of this state call, email, and write their elected leaders in Frankfort and tell them their life story and how a criminal charge has personally impacted their ability to provide for themselves and their family. I hope you will cut and paste this letter and insist that your close friends and family also contact their state senator and state representative.

Contacting your representative is very easy. If you are a registered voter, click on the Kentucky State Board of Elections Voter Information Center https://cdcbp.ky.gov/VICWeb/index.jsp and merely type in your name and date of birth, click on the “submit” button and links to your House District and Senate District will appear along with the House and Senate District Numbers. For example, I live in the 48th House District and my State Representative is Bob Deweese. When I click on his name, I received his contact information including his email and phone numbers. Call and email your State Representative and State Senator today. Five minutes of your time may mean the difference in passage of this bill.

The proposed expungement legislation, Senate Bill 79, http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13RS/SB79.htm, amends the current law in a number of significant ways:

1. Senate Bill 79 amends the current definition of “violations” so that prosecutors cannot not use a mere speeding ticket to object to the expungement of a criminal record.

2. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that all of us make mistakes and those of us who have committed minor criminal offenses(Violations and Misdemeanors) should be allowed to pay our debt to society and after a period of good behavior erase the conviction for our past mistakes.

3. Senate Bill 79 addresses an omission in the current law that prevents thousands of Kentuckians who have been charged with felonies that were dismissed in District Court, or the Grand Jury refused to indict, or the prosecutor dismissed from expunging their charges. The current law provides no mechanism to expunge the felony charge. This is fundamentally unfair and Senate Bill 79 provides a procedure for those charged with felonies that were dismissed to expunge their record and restore their good name.

4. Senate Bill 79 preserves the right of police agencies and prosecution agencies to maintain records for legitimate investigative and record keeping.

5. Senate Bill 79 provides a protocol for the courts to insure that all parties (prosecutors, victims, and the person seeking the expungement) have an opportunity to be heard on whether an expungement should be granted or not.

6. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that other states are granting expungements to their citizens and unless Kentucky also joins their ranks, our citizens will face a significant disadvantage in competing for jobs with out neighbors.

7. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that minor offenses and violations should not be a life sentence. The law recognizes a common truth that:

People make mistakes and mature, people learn from mistakes and lives are changed by sobriety, education, faith or parenthood. If a person has committed a crime, paid the debt to society and broken no laws for five years, how does it serve the public to prevent that person from finding a good job?

The crimes we are talking about include cashing a bad check, failing to return a rented TV on time, shoplifting as a part of a high school or college prank, driving under the influence or experimenting with marijuana. The individuals seeking expungement are not habitual criminals; they are us. How many people are denied or fail to seek better jobs with better benefits which help families? For these individuals, life becomes a vicious cycle of job rejections and despair so that they will never enjoy the fruits of their education or their willingness to work hard. I hope you will work with me to help Kentucky families. All it takes is a phone call, letter, or email. I urge you to call your State Senator and your State Representative today.

Note: LawReader has invited the Jefferson County Attorney to comment on Judge Simms article and to make any posts he wishes on this topic.

Retired Judge Benham Sims Calls for Support of Expungement Reform Bill SB 79

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Retired Judge Benham Sims Calls for Support of Expungement Reform Bill SB 79

The proposed expungement legislation, Senate Bill 79, http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13RS/SB79.htm,
amends the current law in a number of significant ways:

1. Senate Bill 79 amends the current definition of “violations” so that prosecutors cannot not use a mere speeding ticket to object to the expungement of a criminal record.

2. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that all of us make mistakes and those of us who have committed minor criminal offenses(Violations and Misdemeanors) should be allowed to pay our debt to society and after a period of good behavior erase
the conviction for our past mistakes.

3. Senate Bill 79 addresses an omission in the current law that prevents thousands of Kentuckians who have been charged with felonies that were dismissed in District Court, or the Grand Jury refused to indict, or the prosecutor dismissed from expunging their charges. The current law provides no mechanism to expunge the felony charge. This is fundamentally unfair and Senate Bill 79 provides a procedure for those charged with felonies that were dismissed to expunge their record and restore their good name.

4. Senate Bill 79 preserves the right of police agencies and prosecution agencies to maintain records for legitimate investigative and record keeping.

5. Senate Bill 79 provides a protocol for the courts to insure that all parties (prosecutors, victims, and the person seeking the expungement) have an opportunity to be heard on whether an expungement should be granted or not.

>6. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that other states are granting expungements to their citizens and unless Kentucky also joins their ranks, our citizens will face a significant disadvantage in competing for jobs with out neighbors.

7. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that minor offenses and violations should not be a life sentence. The law recognizes a common truth that:

People make mistakes and mature, people learn from mistakes and lives are changed by sobriety, education, faith or parenthood. If a person has committed a crime, paid the debt to society and broken no laws for five years, how does it
serve the public to prevent that person from finding a good job?

The crimes we are talking about include cashing a bad check, failing to return a rented TV on time, shoplifting as a part of a high school or college prank, driving under the influence or experimenting with marijuana. The individuals seeking expungement are not habitual criminals; they are us. How many people are denied or fail to seek better jobs with better benefits which help families? For these individuals, life becomes a vicious cycle of job rejections and despair so
that they will never enjoy the fruits of their education or their willingness to work hard. I hope you will work with me to help Kentucky families. All it takes is a phone call, letter, or email.

I urge you to call your State Senator and
your State Representative today.

New Way to Harass your Opposing Attorney – File a complaint with KBA challenging His Legal Fee – Apparently the Bar Counsel Likes to Set Attorney Fees

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

New Way to Harass your Opposing Attorney – File a complaint with KBA challenging His Legal Fee – Apparently the Bar Counsel Likes to Set Attorney Fees
LawReader – Feb. 14, 2013
LawReader has received several comments from unnamed attorneys who inform us it is their opinion that the Bar Counsel’s staff is trying to take over your ability to set your attorney fees.
One complainant said they had a written and singed fee agreement, and that their work was consistent with the contract, and that the Bar Counsel has spent almost a year investigating them.
These claims of lengthy investigation of attorneys regarding their legal fee, is troubling to Bar members when they find that former KBA officials, who are now practicing law and appear to have the favor of Bar Counsel investigators, are claimed to represent. We would like to suggest that the Sup. Ct. start making Rule 11 sanctions against the KBA when they needlessly harass attorneys and the fee is found to be reasonable.
Perhaps it’s time for the Supreme Court to set standards for the Bar Counsel to bring such claims. Why is the burden of proof placed on the KBA on such claims?
Further, it might be popularly accepted by the bar if former members of the KBA were forbidden from representing clients who file ethics complaints for at least five years after the official resigns from the KBA.
The Supreme Court rules allow some KBA review of attorney fees. All the Bar Counsel has to do is to challenge the “reasonableness” of your legal fee.
See: SCR 3.130(1.5) Fees
(a) A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:

(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
(2) the likelihood that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
(3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
(4) the amount involved and the results obtained;
(5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
(6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
(7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and
(8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent.

There are nationally recognized standards for legal fees which might be considered by the Supreme Court.
Perhaps the most widely followed set of rates are what is called the Laffey Matrix that is available from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. These have been available since 1982 and are updated each year. The hourly rates are shown by years of experience. For June 1, 2006 to May 31, 2007 the rates are as follows: 20+ years of experience, $425 per hour; 11–19 years, $375; 8–10 years, $305; 4–7 years, $245; 1–3 years, $205; and Paralegals/law clerks $120 [1]. (Wikipedia)

“LEGAL FEES” BY WIKEPEDIA
Attorney’s fee is a chiefly United States term for compensation for legal services performed by an attorney (lawyer or law firm) for a client, in or out of court. It may be an hourly, flat-rate or contingent fee. Attorney fees are separate from fines, compensatory and punitive damages, and (except in Nevada) from court costs in a legal case. Surveys suggest that fees range from $150 to $1000 per hour when billed hourly
Amount of fees
The range of fees charged by lawyers varies widely from one city to the next. Most large law firms in the United States bill between $200 and $1,000 per hour for their lawyers’ time, though fees charged by smaller firms are much lower. The rate varies tremendously by location as well as the specific area of law practiced. Typically insurance defense firms have lower hourly rates than non-insurance firms, but are compensated by having steady, regular paying work provided. Locations like Salt Lake City will average $150 per hour for an associate’s time on a basic case, but will increase for larger firms.
Many surveys of hourly rates are done. The American Intellectual Property Law Association (“AIPLA”) commissions a survey of its members every 2 years and it publishes these in what it calls a “Report of the Economic Survey”. The latest one is dated June 2007. Rates are collected for 14 geographic areas and by associate or partner.[4] Many courts have followed the rates shown by these AIPLA surveys and they are highly-regarded for Intellectual Property litigation. Because of the broad variability of attorneys’ fees, independent organizations such as AttorneyFee.com promote attorneys’ fees transparency by publishing comprehensive data on both large and small firm attorney fees.[5]
The Laffey Matrix appears to be growing in acceptance by many courts throughout the United States, but the matrix must be adjusted to account for higher or lower costs for legal services in other areas.
Hourly rates are increasing almost every year and some lawyers charge substantially higher than the rates shown by the Laffey Matrix. The first American attorney to regularly charge a four-digit hourly fee ($1000 and higher) was Benjamin Civiletti in late 2005.[6]
With the ongoing recession of the 2000s, corporate clients began driving attorneys increasingly toward alternative fee arrangements, or AFAs. AFAs can include flat fees (per matter), fixed fees (for a “book” of matters), success bonuses, and other options beyond straight hourly billing

LawReader would suggest that some laywers beleive the KBA may be awarding big law firms larger fees than small firms for similar work. We ask the KBA to tell Bar Members the standards they apply for setting KBA fees to contract work, family law, wills and trust, criminal law, and defense litigation for large insurance companies?

Ronald Dworkin, a professor of law at New York University and emeritus professor at University College London. And Noted Legal Scholar, Dies at 81

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Ronald Dworkin, a professor of law at New York University and emeritus professor at University College London. And Noted Legal Scholar, Dies at 81

Published: February 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM ET
LONDON (AP) — American philosopher and constitutional law expert Ronald Dworkin , best known for articulating the principle that the most important virtue the law can display is integrity, has died. He was 81.
His family said Dworkin died of leukemia in London early Thursday.
Dworkin was a professor of law at New York University and emeritus professor at University College London.
He was one of the best known and most quoted legal scholars in the United States and also an expert on British law.
NYU Law School Dean Richard Revesz said Dworkin was “not only an intellectual giant, but also a masterful teacher, admired colleague and beloved friend.” He called Dworkin the most important legal philosopher of his generation.
“He will be dearly missed by those of us who were lucky enough to know him and by the countless people who followed and admired his work,” Revesz said.
Dworkin articulated the moral idea that the state should act on principle so each member of the community is treated as an equal.
A frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, Dworkin’s books included “A Matter of Principle,” ”Law’s Empire,” and “Justice for Hedgehogs.”
He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1957 and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, England.
He is survived by his wife Irene Brendel Dworkin, his children

BENHAM SIMS III EXPLAINS THE NEWLY INTRODUCTED EXPUNGEMENT BILL…A COMPELLING ARGUMENT CALLS FOR ITS ADOPTION.

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Feb. 9, 2013

Message to LawReader by Benham Sims: I ask that you instruct your lawreader clients to also call (their) friends in the Senate and House (to support this reform bill.)

Yesterday, Republican State Senator Julie Denton joined by Democratic State Senators Robin Webb and Kathy Stein, filed Senate Bill 79. This bill reforms and modernizes Kentucky’s expungement law. Expungement is legal process enabling citizens to remove minor criminal offense(s) from their criminal record after a period of at least five years- if the petitioner has not committed a new criminal offense. The law permits citizens to apply to the court where the offense occurred. The court requires that notice be given to any identifiable victim and the prosecutor. Senate Bill 79 requires the court to set a date to review the petition and grants all parties the right to introduce evidence. The statute requires the court to examine the record and proof presented to the court to determine if the expungement should be granted. The decision of whether to grant an expungement is not automatic.
The statute requires the court to consider the age of the person seeking the expungement, the nature of the offense sought to be expunged, the cessation or continuation of unruly or law abding behavior, the education and employment history and opportunity of the petitioner, and the petitioner’s rehabilitation, accomplishments and sobriety. Finally, the court will consider all the evidence and weigh the petitioner’s privacy, employment, and educational interests against the interests of justice and public safety.
Our current expungement law was passed before the internet . No one contemplated in the 1980′s that an employer with a few clicks of a mouse can find out the life history of a job applicant. Sixty-five million Americans (one in four adults) have a criminal record on a background check. Ninety-six percent (96%) of employers run criminal background checks on job applicants. Fifty percent (50%) of the employers (http://www.helpexpungeme.com/Expungement-Statutes-Prevent- Qualified-Individuals.pdf) will not interview an applicant with a criminal background. The employer does not understand or care about the circumstances or the age of the offense, the issue is merely whether the background is clean or lists an offense. A new disturbing trend involves employers running criminal background checks on current employees-thus good employees who have demonstrated excellent skills and work ethics are at risk of losing their job, benefits, and seniority because of a mistake in judgement. In addition, a person cannot volunteer at their daughter’s school, for their son’s little league team, or at their church without agreeing to a criminal background check. Understandably, no one would want their life record on display for the school receptionist, church secretary, or the Little League manager to review. Senate Bill 79 addresses society’s interest in having a definitive sentence, with a beginning and an end to punishment, the need for people to be able to move on with their lives after they make a mistake and secure meaningful and full employment. Senate Bill 79 resolves once and for all that misdemeanor and violation convictions were never meant to be a life time sentence.

Senate Bill 79, http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/13RS/SB79.htm, amends the current law in a number of significant ways:

1. Senate Bill 79 amends the current definition of “violations” so that prosecutors cannot not use a mere speeding ticket to object to the expungement of a criminal record.

2. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that all of us make mistakes and those of us who have committed minor criminal offenses(Violations and Misdemeanors) should be allowed to pay our debt to society and after a period of good behavior of at least 5 years erase the convictions from public databases used by employers.

3. Senate Bill 79 addresses an omission in the current law that prevents thousands of Kentuckians from expunging felony charges when those charges were dismissed in District Court, or the Grand Jury refused to indict, or the prosecutor dismissed in Circuit Court. The current law provides no mechanism to expunge the felony charge. This is fundamentally unfair and Senate Bill 79 provides a procedure for those charged with felonies that were dismissed to expunge their record and restore their name and ability to secure meaningful employment.

4. Senate Bill 79 preserves the right of police agencies and prosecution agencies to maintain records for legitimate investigative and record keeping.

5. Senate Bill 79 provides a protocol for the courts to insure that all parties (prosecutors, victims, and the person seeking the expungement) have an opportunity to be heard on whether an expungement should be granted or not.

6. Senate Bill 79 provides safeguards for the criminal justice system by permitting the legitimate interests of law enforcement, the courts, and prosecution personnel to maintain records for proper investigatory and record keeping but permits the rights of petitioners to remove the records from criminal records utilized by employment agencies.

7. Senate Bill 79 recognizes that other states (including Ohio and Tennessee within the last six months) are granting expungements to their citizens and unless Kentucky also joins their ranks, our citizens will face a significant disadvantage in competing for jobs with our neighbors.

8. Senate crime, paid their debt to society and broken no laws for five years, how does it serve the public to prevent that person from finding a good job, providing for their families, volunteering in our school and neighborhoods?

Contacting your representative is very easy. If you are a registered voter, click on the Kentucky State Board of Elections Voter Information Center https://cdcbp.ky.gov/VICWeb/index.jsp and merely type in your name and date of birth, click on the “submit” button and links to your House District and Senate District will appear along with the House and Senate District Numbers. For example, I live in the 48th House District and my State Representative is Bob Deweese. When I click on his name, I received his contact information including his email and phone numbers. Call and email your State Representative and State Senator today. Five minutes of your time may mean the difference in passage of this bill.
Bill 79 recognizes that minor offenses and violations should not become life sentences. The law recognizes a common truth that: “Young people who make mistakes mature, people learn from mistakes and change their behavior, and lives are forever changed by maturity,employment, sobriety, education, faith or parenthood. If a person has committed a

Hon. Benham J. Sims, III

Benham has started a new expungement legal services company, www.helpexpungeme.com. You can also view his commercial at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utVQT6x1gGM

Benham’s website: http://www.thekentuckylawyer.com/Contact.shtml

Law school ‘resurgence’ isn’t over, even as applicants drop

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Posted Feb 4, 2013 ABA JOURNAL By Debra Cassens Weiss
Educators aren’t giving up plans to open up a handful of new law schools, despite a nationwide drop in applicants and declining job prospects for graduates.
Among the colleges planning to open law schools are Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne and the University of North Texas in Dallas, the Wall Street Journal reports. The state of Indiana already has four law schools while Texas has nine.
There was a “law-school boom” between 1950 and 1970, when about 20 schools per decade received ABA accreditation, the Wall Street Journal says. The number dropped to eight per decade during the 1980s and the 1990s. “There’s been a resurgence this century,” the story continues, “with 19 new schools getting ABA’s stamp of approval since 2000, and more on deck.”
New schools are also planned in Florida and California.
Ellen Pryor, associate dean for academic affairs at UNT Dallas College of Law, told the Wall Street Journal that her school will attract students who want lower-cost, hands-on legal training. “I know applications are down,” Pryor said, but “the fact that nationwide numbers are down doesn’t dishearten us from thinking we’ll get really good students and fulfill our mission.”
André D.P. Cummings, associate dean for academic affairs at Indiana Tech’s law school, said officials there had planned to enroll about 100 students, but they may have to reduce the number. “Are we where we’d like to be?” he said in a Wall Street Journal interview. “Not yet. The truth is that applications are down significantly across the country.”
Prior coverage:
ABAJournal.com: “‘Massive layoffs’ predicted in law schools due to big drop in applicants”

Impact on Louisville and Rural Areas of Kentucky State Pension Crisis by Chris Tobe

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Christopher Tobe, CFA, CAIA February 6, 2013 CFA Trustee Kentucky Retirement Systems 2008-2012

The recent headline in the Courier journal was “Louisville pension
debt near US worst”i, however the pension crisis is much broader
and deeper than that; the state’s overall pension debt is much
worse. This was reflected in a recent headline from the
Lexington Herald Leader “Kentucky’s financial outlook lowered to
‘negative’ because of pension woes”iiand in an editorial. iii To put
the issue in perspective the Louisville portion of the pension debt
is over 20 times the size of the debt for the YUM! Arena.
The depth of the problem is such that serious state financial
solvency issues will trickle down to cuts in spending on education
and transportation which are critical to every Louisville resident.iv
It will also increase borrowing costs for all state entities,
including those in Louisville, like the Airport, the Stadium, and
the University of Louisville. It is also broader than many think,
effecting workers in dozens of Federal, State, and local
Government programs as this pension crisis bleeds across all
these workers and retirees.

The Kentucky Retirement system points out there are direct
pension payments to 14,148 Jefferson County retirees of $268.9
million per year.v

The National Institute on Retirement Security
estimates a total annual economic impact in Kentucky from state
and local public pension funds of $3.5 billion, viwhich should be
at least a $1 billion impact on Louisville. vii Pension costs eat up
about 15 percent of Louisville’s general fund budget — up from 6
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percent seven years ago — and Louisville spends about $72million on
pensions annually.viii

BACKGROUND
Historically public pensions have been thought to be troubled if their
funding ratios dropped below 80%. The recent financial crisis has many
typical state funds dropping to the 60% level. There are a handful of
states where levels have dropped below 50%, like Kentucky and Illinois,
which has horrific state wide effects. I have talked in depth on this
issueix and how it could even lead to state bankruptcy on the cable TV
program Pure Politics.x

The worst funded in the country is the Kentucky Employees Retirement
System (KERS) at 27%. The Kentucky Teachers Retirement System
(KTRS) is troubled at a 50% funding ratio. The County Employees
Retirement System (CERS) is better but still troubled at 60%. All three
of these systems affect Louisville, but differ in their degree of influence.
The most troubled, KERS, includes most of the Frankfort based
employees, but many of these cabinets have offices in Louisville with
employees under KERS as well. The community college system with
major campuses in downtown Louisville and south west Louisville has
hundreds of KERS workers as well. The most troubling may be Seven
Counties a non-profit mental health agency that covers Louisville and is
threatening closure because of pension costs.xi

KTRS covers every teacher and administrator in every Louisville in
primary and secondary schools, and teachers and administrators for all
community colleges. The University of Louisville opted out of KTRS
over 20 years ago and does not provide a defined benefit plan.
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CERS covers every City of Louisville worker and their police and fire
employees. It also covers all non-teaching school employees including
school bus drivers and cafeteria workers and many aids. In addition, it
also covers most special district employees which were highlighted in a
recent audit report.xii

While KTRS and CERS are not in crisis yet from a funding basis, however
the pension costs have been increasing. Jefferson County Schools
have some ways for these costs to flow through to property tax
increases as they make payments to KTRS and CERS, and are the largest
entities state wide in both of these plans. The Metropolitan Sewer
District (MSD) and Louisville Water Company can pass CERS increases
through rate increases, and the Airport and Fair Board with user fees.
Patience may be waning for this as MSD has already passed through
over 100 million in derivatives losses with their investments.xiii
The costs have been more difficult to cover for Louisville Metroxiv which
has limited taxing power as evidenced by their desire to get a local
option sales tax. This has been frustrating because as noted in the Pew
Report , “While the city consistently paid 100 percent or more of its
annual recommended contributions in fiscal years 2007 to 2010, its
pension funding kept losing ground, dropping over that period from 76
percent to 64 percent of liabilities.”xv The main cause of this has been
unfunded COLA’s for retirees forced down by the legislature.
Other Related Issues
Louisville relies on federal government programs as well. It is thought
that the Federal granting authorities may withhold grant money from
non-profits that have large liabilities on their balance sheets. New
accounting rules going into effect in 2014 may cause non-profits like the
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Head Start programs in CERS to be in danger of losing federal funds
which would shut them down. The bigger liability is in the mental
health agencies in KERS; this has already caused a major disruption and
closing in Southeast Kentucky. Xvi

At Kentucky River Community Care in Jackson, for example, the agency
last year fired “almost its entire staff,” more than 400 employees who
had been eligible for state pensions that required employer
contributions, according to a lawsuit filed by KRS. The agency
immediately rehired them through a company it had formed months
earlier, Go-Hire Employment and Development, and Kentucky River
continues to direct their daily activities, according to the suit. Go-Hire
offers the employees 401(k) defined-contribution retirement plans, but
it’s not part of KRS and does not provide state pensions. ……..Kentucky
River left about 70 retirees in the system when it quit. They are entitled
to pensions and health care coverage for the rest of their lives.xvii This
crisis could easily be repeated in Louisville with Seven Counties
according to their Executive Director. xviii
The new GASB and FASB accounting rules will require all of these
Jefferson County entities to disclose their full pension liabilities, which
will hurt their ability to borrow money in the municipal markets.xix
NACUBO, which represents public universities, is fighting the GASB rule
since forcing these liabilities on the university balance sheets will limit
their ability to borrow. xx A current SEC investigation into the Kentucky
Retirements Systemxxi could result in more impediments, similar to
investigations in New Jersey.xxii Just this week a rural county health
department defaulted on its pension payments to CERS. xxiii
The threat of Illinois-like corporate tax increases could cause businesses
in border areas to leave. Indiana has an active effort luring Illinois
business currently and could easily translate that into a Louisville.
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However, additional tax revenue will probably be needed to save KERS
and to keep the state’s credit rating from slipping more, so legislative
leaders will need to be prepared for tough choices picking the lesser of
two evils on economic development.
The Kentucky Retirement Systems has invested over $1 billion in venture
capital and other private equity. Private Equity funds have huge
concentrations in California and a handful of other states. For this
reason many state and municipal funds target a small amount in
investments in their state.xxiv As a Trustee I informally floated a modest
$200 million venture capital program for Kentucky using around 1% of
pension assets, but there was no interest.
Metro Louisville has made a major commitment toward sustainability. xxv
Many cities have done the same by putting their pension dollars to work
in sustainable ways. Groups like Council of Institutional Investors (CII)xxvi
and CERES xxvii help cities and states make sustainable investments. As a
Trustee of KRS we had mandatory legal educational requirements. I
tried to get involved with educational opportunities with CERES and CII,
but KRS staff was openly hostile toward these organizations and refused
to pay.
Is a Divorce of CERS from KRS a Solution?
As a trustee of KRS I became gravely concerned with the transparency
and accountability at the Kentucky Retirement Systems which is an
umbrella agency that comingles 10 different plans including KERS the
worst funded at 27%, and the best funded CERS at 60%. As a trustee of
KRS I felt that this comingling made it impossible to do my fiduciary duty
around investment issues and I commissioned an outside counsel
report.xxviii I became very concerned with currency losses being moved
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from KERS onto CERS, and for CERS bearing a disproportionate share of
administrative costs.
The Kentucky Association of Counties, or KACO, already has been
advocating for Kentucky’s County Employee Retirement System
secession.xxix LaRue County Judge Executive Tommy Turner, KACO chairman, provided this testimony to the General Assembly in August:

Separate CERS as a stand-alone governing board. County governments
have been consistent in paying 100 percent of the contribution amount
required of us. We ask that you review the possibility of allowing CERS to
be governed by their own board. CERS can reach the 80 percent funding
threshold at a much faster rate than KERS. The viability of CERS is not in
jeopardy with it currently having a funding level of around 63 percent
and it will not encounter a cash flow problem. In fact, under the
provisions instituted in HB 1, the contribution rates for CERS will begin to
fall in the future for participating agencies. Allowing CERS to having its
own governing board would ensure CERS members benefit from the 100
percent participation payments that have been contributed. Under its
current makeup, the Kentucky Retirement System must operate with
decisions based on … the most poorly funded program in the system,
which is Kentucky Employees Retirement. Comparatively, the other plans
in the system are relatively well funded. With a separate board, CERS
would be in a better position to adjust investment options and maintain
less liquidity than the current system must keep on hand to pay out
benefits.xxx
The 2012 investment performance confirms that CERS has been harmed
by comingling investments with KERS. xxxi Overall, the combined
performance for 2012 of all KRS investments in pension and insurance
was under its benchmark by $109 million. xxxii Since 2012 KRS
benchmarks were high at 13.57% any liquidity needs would harm
performance. The insurance funds which are lower funded had lower
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returns but still over 12%. If you assume KERS needs the same liquidity
as the insurance funds, you can calculate that CERS subsidized KERS by
$29 million in 2012 by giving them liquidity.
Pew also blames the shortfall on investment losses at Kentucky
Retirement Systems. xxxiii Superior or even adequate long term
investment results cannot be achieved when KRS is mired in investment
scandals.xxxiv As reported in the Independent Counsel Report, the State
Auditor has refused to adequately address the investment scandal.xxxv
While the Legislature in HB 1 in 2008 put forth new laws to help
investment returns, so far the Attorney General has refused to enforce
any of the laws. xxxvi
Metro Government, by way of Metro Council, sent Kentucky Retirement
Systems a $10 million check to go into CERS without consulting an
actuary.xxxvii I share the opinion of the “Ville Voice”, the leading
Louisville Political blog that, “Because it’s entirely possible that the KRS is
anticipating that $10-$11 million windfall from Metro Government in
CERS (County Employee Retirement System)… and that’s why $5 million
was shifted to shore up KERS by the distribution of currency losses.”xxxviii I
also share this other opinion, “Most everyone we speak with in Frankfort
believes operating costs and other expenses are being unfairly put on the
back of CERS. xxxix“
Louisville seriously needs to consider leading a divorce from CERS
especially as this situation deteriorates.
Steps to Solve the Issue?
What can leaders in Louisville Kentucky do to work through this issue?
They cannot bury their heads in the sand, and let Frankfort handle it.
The first is to become aware of the problem so that they can better
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react to it. Kentucky River may be the first of many non-profits killed by
the pension crisis but it will not be the last. Leaders need to have back
up plans to help keep the Federal funds flowing through these programs
to the people in Louisville programs. Even though the mayor and
council will be tempted to lobby for payment reductions, this is in reality
just a high cost loan at the 7.75% assumed rate of return, and will only
lead CERS down the insolvency route of KERS. There is no real legal
way to lower the CERS payment (see appendix 1), in the current
structure.
CERS and KERS have very different problems and different solutions and
leaving them comingled only allows the problem to fester. Even the
non-government entities in CERS and KERS have very different issues,
and the continued comingling makes their problems worse. The
comingled structure by having CERS prop up KERS allows the “can to be
kicked down the road” longer on truly fixing these pensions and puts an
unfair burden on local governments. My recommendation is for
Louisville to demand that the legislature to make the full ARC payment
for KERS immediately and to indentify specifically the funding source. If
they fail to do this I think they should pressure the legislature to allow
CERS to carve out its own plan and run it separately so it is not sucked
down with it. If this does not work they must consider legal action.
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About Chris Tobe
Chris Tobe, CFA, CAIA has over 25 years of experience working with
complex investments as a consultant, money manager, trust officer and
regulator. His firm Stable Value Consulting reflects a specialty in
401(k)’s that had him quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and
Market Watch, and working on expert witness cases and with Public
DC plans in Maryland and Texas. He recently completed a 4 year term
2008-2012 as Trustee and Investment Committee member for the $13
billion Kentucky Retirement Systems and serves on the investment
committee of the Delta Tau Delta Foundation. From 2008-2009 he
served as a Sr. Consultant for New England Pension Consultants
(NEPC) and worked with a number of public pension plans including
Oklahoma, St. Louis & Amtrak. While at AEGON 2001-2008 he worked
with Public Plans such as Montana, Pennsylvania, LA Louisville, Cook
Louisville, Chicago, Ohio, Vermont, & Memphis. While at Fund
Evaluation group 1999-2001 he worked with Public University
Endowments at Purdue, U.of South Carolina, Indiana State and U. of
Memphis. From 1997-1999 he worked with Kentucky State Auditor Ed
Hatchett and published a 40 page report on the investments of both the
Kentucky Retirement Systems and the Kentucky Teachers Retirements
Systems. In the mid 1980’s Tobe worked as a campaign coordinator to
Congressman Lee Hamilton, and as his intern to the Joint Economic
Committee of Congress. Tobe has published over 30 articles on
investing and has spoken at over 25 national conferences. He holds
a BA in Economics from Tulane University, and an MBA in Finance from
Indiana University – Bloomington. He is the past president of the CFA
Society of Louisville and has taught the MBA investment course at the
University of Louisville. As a public pension trustee in 2010 he
completed the Program for Advanced Trustee Studies at Harvard Law
School and in 2011 he completed Fiduciary College held at the Rock
Center at Stanford University.
Stable Value Consultants – Pubic Pension Series

Rural Economic Effect of the Kentucky
State Pension Crisis
Christopher Tobe, CFA, CAIA February 1, 2013
Rural Kentuckians may see the pension crisis as a Frankfort
problem, or a problem of the 3 metro areas around Frankfort,
but it is much broader and deeper than that. The depth of the
problem is that it could cause serious financial solvency issues
for the entire state, which will most likely trickle down to cuts in
spending on education and transportation which are critical to
every rural county.i It is also broader than many think effecting
workers in all 120 counties. Rural counties depend on Federal,
State, and local Government programs for a higher percentage of
income than most urban counties, and this pension crisis bleeds
across all these workers and retirees.
The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy points out there are
documented direct pension payments of $30 million into Pulaski
County and $10 million into Graves County.ii A good portion of
that money is spent locally in stores, restaurants and doctors’
offices. The National Institute on Retirement Security estimates a
total annual economic impact in Kentucky from state and local
public pension funds of $3.5 billion,iiiwhich should be at least a
$1 billion impact on rural counties. iv
Media coverage of these issues has been spotty in Kentucky but
there has been some national coverage.v I have talked in depth
on this issuevi and how it could even lead to state bankruptcy on
the cable TV program Pure Politics.vii Historically public pensions
have been thought to be troubled if their funding ratios dropped
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below 80%. The recent financial crisis has many typical state funds
dropping to the 60% level. There are a handful of states where levels
have dropped below 50%, like in Kentucky and Illinois, which have
horrific state wide effects.
The worst funded in the country is the Kentucky Employees Retirement
System (KERS) at 27%. The Kentucky Teachers Retirement System
(KTRS) is troubled at a 50% funding ratio. The County Employees
Retirement System (CERS) is typical but still troubled at 60%. All three
of these systems effect rural counties, but differ in their degree of
influence.
The most troubled, KERS, includes most of the Frankfort based
employees. In addition, it also includes state highway garage workers in
every county, prison guards, and state park workers. What is not
broadly known is that it also includes the non-teaching employees of
many universities, like Morehead and Murray in rural counties, and nonprofit
mental health agencies that cover every county.
KTRS covers every teacher and administrator in every county in primary
and secondary schools, and teachers and administrators for all
community colleges and the Regional Universities in rural areas.
CERS covers every city and county worker and their police and fire
employees. It also covers all non-teaching school employees including
school bus drivers and cafeteria workers and many aids. In addition, it
also covers most special district employees which were highlighted in a
recent audit report. The Bluegrass Institute, a Kentucky think tank, has
reported that are over 1,701 agencies participating in the Kentucky
Retirement Systems, I estimate that over 1000 could be nongovernment.
viii
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While KTRS and CERS are not in crisis yet, they have large membership in
every county. In most counties the school district is the largest
employer with teachers and administrators in KTRS and support staff,
cafeteria workers and school bus drivers in CERS. Local government is
most likely a top 5 employer in every county, as every local police officer
and fireman (State Police have own system) is in CERS. Every county
and city worker is in CERS. Thousands of workers in non-profits are in
CERS as well
Rural Counties in general also rely on federal government programs as
well. It is thought that the Federal granting authorities may withhold
grant money from non-profits that have large liabilities on their balance
sheets. New accounting rules going into effect in 2014 may force nonprofits
like the Head Start programs in CERS covering every county to be
endanger of losing federal funds which would shut them down. The
bigger liability is in the mental health agencies in KERS; this has already
caused a major disruption and closing in rural Southeast Kentucky. ix
At Kentucky River Community Care in Jackson, for example, the agency
last year fired “almost its entire staff,” more than 400 employees who
had been eligible for state pensions that required employer
contributions, according to a lawsuit filed by KRS. The agency
immediately rehired them through a company it had formed months
earlier, Go-Hire Employment and Development, and Kentucky River
continues to direct their daily activities, according to the suit. Go-Hire
offers the employees 401(k) defined-contribution retirement plans, but
it’s not part of KRS and does not provide state pensions. ……..Kentucky
River left about 70 retirees in the system when it quit. They are entitled
to pensions and health care coverage for the rest of their lives.x This
crisis while it may appear to be in Frankfort has already spread and has
done damage to rural counties.
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The new GASB and FASB accounting rules will require all of these
entities to disclose their full pension liabilities. Many Kentucky cities
and counties fear it will hurt their ability to borrow money in the
municipal markets.xi NACUBO, which represents public universities, is
fighting the GASB rule since forcing these liabilities on the university
balance sheets will limit their ability to borrow. xii A current SEC
investigation into the Kentucky Retirements Systemxiii could result in
more impediments, similar to investigations in New Jersey.xiv
The threat of Illinois-like corporate tax increases could cause businesses
in border areas to leave. Indiana has an active effort luring Illinois
business currently and could easily translate that into a Kentucky
strategy. Rural counties could lose business especially to Tennessee in
addition to Indiana and others. However, additional tax revenue will
probably be needed to save KERS, so legislative leaders will need to be
prepared for tough choices picking the lesser of two evils on economic
development.
What can leaders in rural Kentucky do to work through this issue? The
first is to become aware of the problem so that they can better react to
it. Kentucky River may be the first of many non-profits killed by the
pension crisis but it will not be the last. Leaders need to have back up
plans to help keep the Federal funds flowing through these programs to
the people in these rural counties. Even though mayors will continue
to complain, avoid any payment holidays, or CERS will be heading down
the same dark road as KERS.
The next is get their legislators to demand transparency and
accountability at the Kentucky Retirement Systems which is an umbrella
agency that comingles 10 different plans including KERS the worst
funded at 27%, and the best funded CERS at 60%. As a trustee of KRS I
felt that this comingling made it impossible to do my fiduciary duty and I
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4
commissioned an outside counsel report.xv I became very concerned
with currency losses being moved from KERS onto CERS, and for CERS
bearing a disproportionate share of administrative costs.
My recommendation is for the legislature to make the full ARC payment
for KERS immediately, if they fail to do this I think they should allow
CERS to carve out its own plan and run it separately so it is not sucked
down with it. CERS and KERS have very different problems and
different solutions and leaving them comingled only allows the problem
to fester. Even the non-government entities in CERS and KERS have very
different issues, and the continued comingling makes their problems
worse. The comingled structure by having CERS prop up KERS allows
the “can to be kicked down the road” longer on truly fixing these
pensions and puts an unfair burden on local governments.

KBA BOARD OF GOVERNORS ANNOUNCED FOR 2013-14 – LAWREADER ANALYZES THE NEW BOARD OF GOVERNORS AND NEW OFFICERS OF THE KBA

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Feb. 5, 2013

Amy D. Cubbage, Louisville, and J. Stephen Smith, Fort Mitchell, have been elected to serve as Bar Governors for the 4th and 6th Supreme Court Districts (SCD), respectively, following a recent tabulation of votes certified by a canvassing board at the Supreme Court of Kentucky in Frankfort.

A swearing-in ceremony will be held during the Annual Banquet scheduled in conjunction with the KBA’s Annual Convention on Thursday, June 20, at the Galt House in Louisville. The following officers and bar governors will take office effective July 1; the officers will serve a one-year term ending June 30, 2014.

The bar governors listed below will serve a two-year term ending on June 30, 2015.

LawReader reviews the new Board and Officers.

President: Thomas L. Rouse -
( MANY MEMBERS OF THE BAR ARE HOPING THAT PRESIDENT ROUSE WILL ASSERT CONTROL OVER THE KBA AND WILL NO LONGER ALLOW THE BOARD TO HIDE BEHIND A NON-EXISTENT RIGHT TO KEEP ALL THEIR ACTIVITIES “CONFIDENTIAL”. WILL HE RELEASE FINANCIAL REPORTS TO THE ENTIRE BAR CONCERNING THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS BY THE KBA? WILL HE HOLD THE BAR COUNSEL’S OFFICE RESPONSIBLE FOR DISCIPLINE ABUSES, UNTIMELY DELAYS IN THEIR PROSECUTIONS OF ETHICS CLAIMS, AND VINDICTIVE PILING ON OF CHARGES? WILL HE EXPLORE CLAIMS THAT THE BAR COUNSEL’S OFFICE HAS INTERFERED WITH THE SELECTION OF TRIAL COMMISSIONER APPOINTMENTS. WILL HE ALLOW DEFENDANT ATTORNEYS TO RECORD THEIR HEARINGS BEFORE THE BOARD? WILL HE KEEP A WATCHFUL EYE AGAINST ANY ACTION OF A BOARD MEMBER WHICH MIGHT REQUIRE RECUSAL? WE BELIEVE THAT PRESIDENT ROUSE WILL RISE TO THE CHALLENGE AND ASSURE THAT MANY OF THE REFORMS BEING CALLED ON BY LAWYERS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED. IF HE DOES HE WILL DESERVE TO HAVE HIS STATUTE PLACED IN FRONT OF THE KBA BUILDING.)

President-Elect: William E. Johnson
(MANY AROUND THE STATE HAVE PREDICTED THAT BILL JOHNSON WOULD BRING THE MUCH NEEDED “ADULT SUPERVISION” TO THE KBA. HIS POSITION THIS YEAR AND HIS POSITION AS PRESIDENT-ELECT BEGINNING THIS JUNE, GIVE HIM THE INFLUENCE TO IMPLEMENT THE REFORMS THAT WILL ASSURE THAT THE KBA REPRESENTS ALL ATTORNEYS AND NOT JUST ITS FRIENDS. HE CAN STOP THE PRACTICE OF THE KBA TO LABEL EVERY QUESTION ABOUT THEIR PRACTICES AS BEING PROTECTED BY THE NON-EXISTENT “CONFIDENTIALITY RULE”.

Vice President: Douglass Farnsley
(FORMERLY A KBA BOARD MEMBER. HIS LAW FIRM, STITES AND HARBISON, IS A FAVORITE OF THE KBA. THEY WERE HIRED BY THE KBA BOARD TO FIGHT TO RESTRICT THE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF ATTORNEYS IN THE JOHN BERRY JR. CASE. (The firm earned over $200,000 for their five year effort to defend the Bar Counsel’s attempt to limit lawyers’ rights.)
LOTS OF PEOPLE WILL BE WATCHING HIS VOTES TO SEE IF HE VIEWS HIS JOB AS REPRESENTING THE INTEREST OF STITES AND HARBISON AND TO KEEP THEM THE FAVORITE OUTSIDE COUNSEL OF THE KBA BOARD, OR WILL HE REPRESENT THE RIGHTS OF KENTUCKY LAWYERS.
WOULDN’T IT BE NICE IF VICE-PRESIDENT FARNSLEY BECOMS AN ADVOCATE FOR REFORM OF THE KBA?
THE VEIL OF SECRECY THE PAST BOARD AND THE PAST TWO KBA PRESIDENTS HAVE IMPOSED TO HIDE THE ACTIONS OF THE KBA CAN BE OPENED TO PUBLIC VIEW WITH THE HELP OF VICE PRESIDENT FARNSLEY. WE WISH HIM SUCCESS AND HOPE HE PROVES THAT HE IS ONE OF THE GUYS WHO WEARS A WHITE HAT.)

Immediate Past President: W. Douglas Myers -
(REFUSES TO DISCLOSE HOW MUCH THE KBA SPENDS FOR OUTSIDE COUNSEL.(As did President Margaret Keene.)
DEFENDS RIGHT OF BOARD MEMBER WHOSE LAW FIRM RECEIVED OVER $200,000 IN LEGAL FEES FROM THE KBA IN JOHN BERRY CASE TO CONTINUE ON BOARD.
REFUSES TO DISCLOSE WHICH BOARD MEMBERS VOTED IN FAVOR OF HIRING OUTSIDE COUNSEL TO ATTACK THE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF ATTORNEYS.
PRESIDENT MYERS REPRESENTS THE HIGH WATER MARK OF THE KBA OFFICERS WHO DISRESPECT ANY MEMBER OF THE BAR WHO HAVE THE SPINE TO ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SECRET OPERATION OF THE KBA.)

Young Lawyers Division Chairman: Carl N. Frazier
(WE HOPE MR. FRAZIER WILL REALIZE THAT HIS FUTURE DEPENDS ON HIS MONITORING OF THE KBA AND PARTICULARLY SEEING THAT THE BAR COUNSEL’S OFFICE PROTECTS THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF ALL ATTORNEYS. HE IS NEW TO THE PRACTICE OF LAW. JUST REMEMBER CARL, YOU REPRESENT ALL KENTUCKY LAWYERS, AND THE BIG LAW FIRMS WHO SEDUCTIVELY SUGGEST THEY MAY SEE MORE OF YOU IN THE FUTURE ARE JUST WOULD BE SEDUCERS.
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SUCCEED, “DO THE RIGHT THING” AND SUCCESS WILL FOLLOW.)

1st SCD: Michael M. Pitman, Murray (WE HOPE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MR. PITMAN, AND WISH HIM THE BEST ON THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS.”)

2nd SCD: John David Meyer, Owensboro
(WE HOPE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MR. MEYER, AND WISH HIM THE BEST ON THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS.”)

3RD SCD: HOWARD O. MANN, CORBIN
(WE HOPE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MR. MANN, AND WISH HIM THE BEST ON THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS.”)

4th SCD: Amy D. Cubbage, Louisville
( EMPLOYED BY McBRAYER, MCGINNIS, LESLIE & KIRKLAND, PLLC. SHE REFUSED TO ANSWER LAWREADER QUESTIONAIRE ON KBA ISSUES….AND WE FEAR THIS SUGGESTS SHE WILL ENDORSE THE ANTI-ATTORNEY ATTITUDE OF THE PAST TWO KBA PRESIDENTS. HER LEGAL RESUME IS IMPRESSIVE. IT IS HOPED THAT SHE WILL BECOME AN INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE BAR…AND NOT JUST THE LARGE LAW FIRMS.

5th SCD: William R. Garmer, Lexington
(WHILE GARMER IS A VERY COMPETENT ATTORNEY, HE IS FELT BY SOME TO BE A LEADER OF THE KBA’S INSTITUTIONAL BIAS AGAINST LAWYER’S DUE PROCESS RIGHTS IN DISCIPLINE CASES.
SOME IN THE BAR BELIEVE HE OULD HAVE SPOKEN OUT WHEN THE BAR COUNSEL HARASSED SOME LAWYERS AND HE MAY HAVE CLOSED HIS EYES WHEN PAST MEMBERS GOT CONTINUANCES AND FAVORTISM WHEN CHARGED WITH ETHICS VIOLATIONS
WE HEARD NO PROTEST FROM GARMER WHEN HIS FELLOW BOARD MEMBER’S LAW FIRM FROM LEXINGTON, STITES AND HARBISON, WAS AWARDED A $200,000 CONTRACT TO REPRESENT THE KBA.
GARMER WAS SILENT WHEN THE LAST TWO KBA PRESIDENTS REFUSED TO RELEASE FINANCIAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE KBA’S EXPENDITURE FOR OUTSIDE COUNSEL. HE AND THE OTHER BOARD MEMBERS HAVE NOT EXPLAINED WHY WITH NINE FULL TIME LAWYERS ON THE BAR COUNSEL’S STAFF, THE KBA HAS SPENT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR OUTSIDE COUNSEL?)

6th SCD: J. Stephen Smith, Ft. Mitchell.
(REALLY NICE FELLOW. HE IS EMPLOYED BY A LARGE LAW FIRM WITH OHIO TIES. SOME CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS SAY HE IS TOO CLOSE TO THE ANTI-SMALL LAW FIRM MENTALITY GROUP ON THE KBA BOARD. HE IS JUST COMPLETING HIS FIRST TERM AND HOPEFULLY WILL REALIZE THAT THE RULES IMPOSE ON THE BOARD THE DUTY TO MONITOR THE EXCESSIVE PROSECUTION AND ABUSE OF LAWYER’S RIGHTS BY THE BAR COUNSEL’S OFFICE.
SMITH HAS BEEN GIVEN ANOTHER TERM ON THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS, WILL HE MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF AS A REFORMER AND ADVOCATE FOR LAWYERS RIGHTS, OR WILL HE REMAIN A SILENT BACKBENCHER WHO ALLOWS THE LEXINGTON AND LOUISVILLE BOARD MEMBERS TO HIDE THEIR ACTIONS BEHIND THE FALSE WALL OF SECRECY THEY CLAIM EXISTS.)

7th SCD: Earl M. “Mickey” McGuire, Prestonsburg
(HE IS AN INDEPENDENT MIND ON THE BOARD AND HOPEFULLY SOME OF THE NEW MEMBERS WILL LOOK TO MCGUIRE FOR GUIDANCE. MCGUIRE IS FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM LEXINGTON AND LOUISVILLE, THAT HE IS NOT INTIMIDATED BY THE LARGE LAW FACTORIES.)

Next Year’s Election will focus on the following Board Members who were not up for election this year.
Other Kentucky Bar Governors currently serving terms ending June 30, 2014, are Jonathan Freed, Paducah, 1st SCD; Thomas N. Kerrick, Bowling Green, 2nd SCD; M. Gail Wilson, Jamestown, 3rd SCD; Douglas C. Ballantine, Louisville, 4th Supreme Court District; Anita M. Britton, Lexington, 5th Supreme Court District; David V. Kramer, Crestview Hills, 6th Supreme Court District; Bobby Rowe, Prestonsburg, 7th SCD

2013 FREE KBA CLE PROGRAMS – TIME TO PUT THIS ON YOUR CALENDAR

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

2013 KENTUCKY LAW UPDATE – COMING THIS FALL

Mark your calendars now! The final dates and locations for the KBA’s 2013 Kentucky Law Update are confirmed and listed below.

September 10-11 Russell (Ashland) – Bellefonte Pavilion
September 26-27 Lexington – Lexington Convention Center
October 3-4 Owensboro – RiverPark Center
October 8-9 London – London Community Center
October 24-25 Louisville – Kentucky International Convention Center
October 30-31 Gilbertsville – Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
November 6-7 Bowling Green – Holiday Inn & Sloan Convention Center
November 21-22 Prestonsburg – Jenny Wiley State Resort
December 5-6 Covington – Northern Kentucky Convention Center
Program brochures will be mailed out to all KBA members in late May and program registration will be available shortly thereafter. To check your address on record with the KBA, login and look yourself up on the website using Lawyer Locator under the Membership Menu. The address listed is the one used for mail notifications. If you want to change your address on record, you may use the online address change/update form or fill out and mail/fax a copy of the request for address change/update form as indicated.

The KLU Program series is an exceptional benefit of KBA membership. Note: Kentucky is the only mandatory CLE state that provides its members a way of meeting the annual CLE requirement at no additional cost.

For more information on the KLU Program, visit www.kybar.org/186 or contact Ben Swartz at bswartz@kybar.org or call (502) 564-3795, ext. 270.

SHERRY CURRENS, CALLS ON LEGISLATURE TO CREATE SECURE CENTERS FOR CHILD CUSTODY EXCHANGES

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Lawmakers push secure centers for custodial changes
Published: February 2, 2013
Sherry Currens, executive director of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association said, “It’s critical that we establish safe, secure locations for exchanging children for visitation. Too many times, victims and children are placed at risk because they are required to follow court orders or risk losing custody of their children — even when their gut is telling them that they are placing their families at risk.”
Missy Cornett says she believes her family members would still be alive today if Kentucky offered more protections for estranged parents at risk of domestic violence situations.
Cornett’s husband, Jackie Douglas Cornett, 53, daughter Taylor, 12, and niece Caitlin, 20, were shot to death last month during a custody exchange of her son in a Hazard college parking lot in January. Caitlin’s former boyfriend Dalton Stidham, 21, has been charged in the three deaths.
“We must explore ways to create safe exchange centers throughout the state in response to the tragedy in Hazard,” said Darlene Thomas, executive director of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.
There are secure centers in Lexington and Louisville where supervised exchanges take place so that parents don’t have to see each other, but officials say that in most parts of the state, including Perry and surrounding counties, such services are non-existent.
Child exchanges often occur in parking lots of stores and fast-food restaurants, which advocates say is not safe for families or citizens who might be in the area.
“They thought that a school was a safe place. We see that it wasn’t,” Missy Cornett said in a telephone interview. “If they had some kind of exchange place where they had to walk through metal detectors, just to keep the violence down, and one (parent) leave before the other, where they don’t even have to see other” it might help families in the future, she said.
Caitlin Cornett, needed a ride to the parking lot to pick up her son from the child’s father, Stidham, who was returning him from a court-ordered visit. Caitlin asked her uncle Jackie, known as Doug, to take her. Taylor wanted to ride along with them, Missy Cornett said.
But Missy said Caitlin also did not want to do the exchange alone. According to court records, Caitlin and Dalton Stidham had separated a few months earlier and had been to court that week for a custody hearing, in which Caitlin was named as the primary physical caregiver, according to court records.
Victims often believe that being in a public place and having a family member or friend with them will reduce the potential for violence, said Thomas. Often, in an effort to protect victims, she said, judges enter visitation agreements to exchange children in public locations or private homes with others present.
Police stations are another alternative, but advocates say that often there is not an officer available to stand in the parking lot.
Opening child exchange centers — and keeping them open — requires money and community support.
Sunflower Kids is a center in Lexington that, in large part, uses federal grant money to facilitate child exchanges and supervised visitation, said executive director Stephanie Hoffman.
The center has an annual budget of $125,000, she said. When an exchange occurs at the center, the parent designated as “a safety concern” arrives and enters the building first and 15 minutes before the other parent.
Then a monitor meets the custodial parent in the parking lot and takes the child or children inside, while the custodial parent leaves.
The parent posing the concern waits another 15 minutes before leaving the building and taking the children for a visit.
Karen Trivette, executive director of the Brenda Cowan Coalition for Kentucky, said her Lexington agency has been facilitating supervised visitations for some time but just began monitoring child exchanges in January: “We have secured entrances and separate waiting areas for both custodial and non-custodial parents” so that the parents don’t see each other.
When exchanges happen in less secure public places, it can put additional people at risk, Hoffman said.
Hoffman said she has been working with Tamra Gormley, a family court judge for Woodford, Scott, and Bourbon counties, for several months to open a center in Georgetown that would facilitate both child exchanges and visitations.
Scheduled to open in six months to a year, it would be funded in part with federal grant money obtained by Sunflower Kids.
“The supervised visitation and exchange centers concept is a top priority for our judicial circuit’s family court,” said Gormley “We had over 60 community partners attend a meeting over the summer saying, ‘We want to have this visitation and exchange center in our community.’”
Gormley said in the short term, she has been meeting with county sheriffs and hopes to have a protocol ready in the next few weeks for child exchanges to be handled inside courthouses with a law enforcement officer present and metal detectors in use.
Meetings have also been held in the last few months between advocates and legal aid attorneys in Ashland to discuss opening a center there, according to Currens.
Perry District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens said she was not the judge who issued Dalton Stidham’s visitation orders, but because there is no family court in Perry County, she sometimes has to work out child exchange arrangements in other cases.
Stephens said a secure center providing people to monitor child exchanges would be “wonderful” for the area.
“Many times we use the state police posts, sometimes when people travel a distance they have to meet at state parks,” the judge said.
Officials at the Administrative Office of the Courts aren’t aware of any discussions about creating a statewide system of child exchange centers, said spokeswoman Jamie Neal. But Neal said if such a program is proposed, “we expect we would be involved in conversations about it, and we would be happy to provide input.”
Thomas, the director of the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, said the exchange centers already in operation show that “there are ways for communities to come together to reduce the potential for further violence.”
Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409.Twitter:@vhspears

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/02/02/2500929/lawmakers-push-secure-centers.html#emlnl=AM_update#storylink=cpy