FRANKFORT, Ky., March 14, 2005 ¾ The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert, met today at the Campbell County Courthouse in Newport to choose nominees to replace Circuit Judge Leonard L. Kopowski, who retired effective Feb. 5, 2005. The vacant circuit judgeship serves the 17th Judicial Circuit, Division 2, which is Campbell County. Three individuals were nominated to fill this vacancy: Attorney Steven Joseph Franzen, District Judge Gregory Popovich and Attorney Frederick Adolphus Stine V.
Steven Joseph Franzen
Franzen earned a law degree from the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Kentucky. He resides in Fort Thomas and works in Newport where he has a solo practice in general litigation with extensive experience in municipal law. He has served as both a prosecutor and public defender.
District Judge Gregory Popovich
Judge Popovich currently serves as a district judge for Campbell County. He was elected to the district bench in 1993. He graduated from the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law and earned a bachelor's degree from Thomas More College. Judge Popovich resides in Fort Thomas.
Frederick Adolphus Stine V
Stine is a retired attorney who resides in Fort Thomas. He previously had a solo legal practice, and was associated with Hanna, Patten & Rowland and the United States Attorney's Office. He earned a law degree from the Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law and a bachelor's degree in business management from the University of Cincinnati.
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 Chief Justice. Chief Justice Lambert 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. Ernie Fletcher for review. When the governor appoints a replacement, his office makes the announcement.
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction and hears all criminal matters involving more than $4,000. It has jurisdiction over capital offenses and felonies, dissolution of marriage, adoption, termination of parent rights, land disputes and contested probate cases. Kentucky judges, justices and circuit court clerks are supported by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), which is the administrative arm of the Kentucky Court of Justice. The AOC provides ongoing training and education to the state’s judges.