Kentucky Court of Justice
Judge Jeff S. Taylor elected Chief Judge of Kentucky Court of Appeals

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, June 16, 2010  
Contact Information:  Jamie Ball
Public Information Specialist
502-573-2350, x 50033

FRANKFORT, Ky., -- Judge Jeff S. Taylor of Owensboro has been elected by his fellow judges to serve as chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. His term as chief judge will begin July 1.

“I am deeply humbled that my fellow judges have selected me as their chief judge,” Judge Taylor said. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve in this capacity for our court. I look forward to working with my fellow judges and court staff to make the Court of Appeals more efficient and to further enhance the administration of justice in Kentucky.”

The Court of Appeals judges elected Judge Taylor during their regular court meeting June 15. The chief judge provides administrative oversight to the Court of Appeals and serves in the position for a four-year term under the Kentucky Constitution.

Court of Appeals Judge Laurance B. VanMeter has served as the court’s acting chief judge since Judge Sara Walter Combs resigned from that position in May. Judge VanMeter will continue as acting chief judge until Judge Taylor’s term begins.

Judge Taylor was first elected as a Court of Appeals judge in November 2003 to represent the 2nd Appellate District, which is comprised of Barren, Breckinridge, Bullitt, Daviess, Grayson, Hancock, Hardin, Hart, Henderson, LaRue, Meade, Ohio, Union and Warren counties. He was re-elected in November 2006 to a full eight-year term.

Judge Taylor previously practiced law in Owensboro for more than 20 years and was a sole practitioner from 1990 until his election to the Court of Appeals.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Murray State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from Memphis State University. He earned his law degree from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, graduating with honors in 1982. He is a 1971 graduate of Elizabethtown High School.

Judge Taylor serves on the Kentucky Bar Foundation Board of Directors and on the board of directors for the Daviess County Public Schools Foundation. He served on the Murray State University Board of Regents from September 2006 to September 2009.

He is a past president of the Kentucky chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He is also past president of the Daviess County Bar Association, Daviess County Public Defender Corp. and the Daviess County Lawyer Referral Service. He is a member of the American, Kentucky and Daviess County bar associations. Judge Taylor is a Life Fellow in the Kentucky Bar Foundation and a member of the Brandeis Honor Society at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.

Judge Taylor is a member of the Owensboro-Daviess County Chamber of Commerce, is past president of the Owensboro Kiwanis Club and serves on the Girls Inc. Board of Trustees. He is a former board member of the Owensboro-Daviess County Committee on Aging. He has been a frequent United Way volunteer and has been a volunteer for the Salvation Army and Boy Scouts Law Explorers.

Judge Taylor was born in Fort Knox and raised in Daviess County. He is married to the former Betty Keller of Christian County. She has one son and the couple has two grandchildren.

Kentucky Court of Appeals
The Kentucky Court of Appeals, along with the Supreme Court of Kentucky, was formed after the 1975 enactment of the Judicial Article that created Kentucky’s unified court system. Fourteen judges, two elected from each of the seven appellate districts, serve on the Court of Appeals for terms of eight years. With a few exceptions, most cases appealed from Circuit Court go to the Court of Appeals. The case is not retried at the appeals level. Instead, the original trial record is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the court for a decision. 

Court of Appeals judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority deciding the outcome. The panels do not sit permanently in one location, but travel throughout the state to hear appeals. When the Court of Appeals publishes its rulings on cases, those rulings become the governing case law for all such similar cases in the trial courts of Kentucky.