Kentucky Court of Justice
Judicial Nominating Commission announces nominees for 3 vacant judgeships in Jefferson County
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., today announced the nominees to fill three vacant judgeships that serve Jefferson County. The nominees are for the vacant circuit judgeship in the 30th Judicial Circuit, Division 11, and the vacant district judgeships in the 30th Judicial District, Divisions 7 and 9. The JNC selects three nominees for each judgeship.
Nominees for 30th Judicial Circuit, Division 11
The three nominees to fill the Circuit Court vacancy are Judge Angela McCormick Bisig and attorneys Brian Clifford Edwards and Robert S. Silverthorn Jr. The Circuit Court judgeship was left vacant by Judge Geoffrey P. Morris, who resigned Jan. 15, 2009, to join the Senior Judges Program.
Angela McCormick Bisig is currently serving as a Jefferson County District Court judge. She earned her juris doctor at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Brian Clifford Edwards is a solo practitioner with Brian C. Edwards, Attorney at Law, an assistant professor in the U of L Department of Pan-African Studies and associate director of the U of L Center for the Study of Crime and Justice in Black Communities. He holds a juris doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Robert S. Silverthorn Jr. has been practicing with Silverthorn Law Office since 1993. He earned his juris doctor from the U of L Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Nominees for 30th Judicial District, Division 7
The three attorneys named as nominees to fill this District Court vacancy are William Henry Mooney, Angela Christine Ward and Jennifer Bryant Wilcox. This District Court judgeship was left vacant by Judge William P. Ryan Jr., who resigned Jan. 5, 2009, to join the Senior Judges Program.
William Henry Mooney is currently affiliated with Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Mahan, P.S.C., in Louisville. He earned a juris doctor from the U of L Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Angela Christine Ward is currently associated with a specialized prosecution unit in the Office of the Jefferson County Attorney. She earned a juris doctor from the UK College of Law.
Jennifer Bryant Wilcox is Division Chief of Trial Division A in the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Jefferson County. She earned a juris doctor from the UK College of Law.
Nominees for 30th Judicial District, Division 9
The three attorneys named as nominees to fill this District Court vacancy are Wanda Mitchell Baker, Sheila Berman and David L. Holton. This District Court judgeship was left vacant by Judge Janice R. Martin., who resigned Jan. 5, 2009, to join the Senior Judges Program.
Wanda Mitchell Baker is currently serving as chief operating officer for the Jefferson County Office of Circuit Court Clerk. She holds a juris doctor from the University of Virginia Law School in Charlottesville, Va.
Sheila Berman is a solo practitioner who works in association with the Haddad Law Office. She earned a juris doctor from the U of L Louis D. Brandis School of Law.
David L. Holton is currently an assistant Jefferson County attorney with the Office of the Jefferson County Attorney. He previously served as a judge for Jefferson County District Court. Holton earned a juris doctor from the UK College of Law.
Judicial Nominating Process
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the Judicial Nominating Commission publishes a notice of vacancy in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys can recommend someone or nominate themselves. The names of the applicants are not released. Once nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice. Chief Justice Minton then meets with the Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees. Because the Kentucky Constitution requires that three names be submitted to the governor, in some cases the commission submits an attorney’s name even though the attorney did not apply. A letter naming the three nominees is sent to Gov. Steve Beshear for review. The governor has 60 days to appoint a replacement, and his office makes the announcement.
Composition of the Judicial Nominating Commission
The Judicial Nominating Commission is established in the Kentucky Constitution. Ky. Const. § 118; SCR 6.000, et. Seq. The commission has seven members. The membership is comprised of the chief justice of Kentucky (who also serves as chair), two lawyers elected by all the lawyers in their circuit/district and four Kentucky citizens who are appointed by the governor. The four citizens appointed by the governor must equally represent the two major political parties, so two must be Democrats and two must be Republicans. It is the responsibility of the commission to submit a list of three names to the governor and the governor must appoint a judge from this list of three.
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $4,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases. A division of Circuit Court, Family Court has primary jurisdiction in cases involving family issues, such as divorces, adoption, child support, domestic violence and juvenile status offenses.
District Court is a court of limited jurisdiction which hears civil cases involving $4,000 or less, juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse, guardianships for disabled people, traffic offenses, small claims, probate of wills and felony preliminary hearings.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort supports the activities of 3,800 Kentucky Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks.