Kentucky Court of Justice
Court of Appeals to hear state appeal on crediting God with security Feb. 24 in Frankfort
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Thursday, Feb. 24, as the state challenges a 2009 ruling that struck down a state law requiring the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security to “stress dependence on Almighty God as being vital to the security of the Commonwealth.” Proceedings will take place in the Court of Appeals Courtroom at 360 Democrat Drive in Frankfort. Proceedings will be open to the public.
The law mandates that the state Office of Homeland Security publicize a reliance on God in its training and educational materials and on a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center. The plaque states, in part, “The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.” Franklin County Circuit Court found that the 2006 law violated the First Amendment’s protection against the establishment of a state religion.
In addition to the state’s appeal, the American Atheists organization is cross-appealing the Franklin County Circuit Court finding that it does not have standing to be a party in the lawsuit.
A three-judge panel comprised of Court of Appeals Judges Laurance B. VanMeter and Thomas B. Wine and Senior Judge Ann O’Malley Shake will hear arguments in the appeals. The panel will also hear several other civil case appeals.
THURSDAY, FEB. 24, 2011 (Times are in EST)
10 AM 2010CA000676
TERRY CARL v JERRY DIXSON JR.
Summary: Civil. Appellant Terry Carl, who is the Kenton County jailer, appeals the trial court’s decision to deny him summary judgment in this negligence case. At issue is whether he was entitled to a defense of qualified immunity.
Kenton County judge who presided in the case – Judge Martin J. Sheehan
Appellant’s attorney: Christopher Nordloh
Appellee’s attorneys: Marc Mezibov and Michael O’Hara
2009CA001650: KENTUCKY OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY v MICHAEL G. CHRISTERSON ET AL.
2009CA001676: AMERICAN ATHEISTS, INC. v COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY (KENTUCKY OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY) ET AL.
Summary: Civil. Franklin County Circuit Court issued a summary judgment in favor of appellee Michael G. Christerson, ruling that the legislation that created the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security established religion by endorsing a belief in God. The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security is appealing the ruling. In 2009CA001676, the American Atheists organization cross-appeals in response to the circuit court finding that it does not have a standing to be a party in the lawsuit.
Franklin County Judge who presided in the case – Judge Thomas D. Wingate
Attorneys for appellant Kentucky Office of Homeland Security in 2009CA001650: Craig Newbern Jr. and Tad Thomas
Attorney for appellee Michael G. Christerson: Edwin Kagin
Attorney for appellant American Atheists, Inc.: Edwin Kagin
Attorneys for appellee Commonwealth of Kentucky (Kentucky Office of Homeland Security) in 2009CA001676: Attorney General Jack Conway, Craig Newbern Jr. and Tad Thomas
For more information, look up the case numbers here – Court of Appeals cases.
2009CA001908: COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY (CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES) v BLUEGRASS ORTHOPAEDICS SURGICAL DIVISION, LLC
2009CA001912: SAINT JOSEPH HEALTH SYSTEM, INC. F/K/A SAINT (JOSEPH HEALTHCARE, INC. D/B/A SAINT JOSEPH HOSPITAL) v BLUEGRASS ORTHOPAEDICS SURGICAL DIVISION, LLC
2009CA002344: LOUISVILLE ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY CENTER, PLLC v COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY (CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES)
Summary: Civil. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is appealing two Franklin County Circuit Court orders allowing groups to perform surgery without certificates of need or license pursuant to KRS 216B.020(2)(a). Saint Joseph Health System is appealing a Franklin County Circuit Court order allowing a medical group to perform surgery pursuant to the physician’s office exemption in KRS 216.020.
Franklin County judge who presided in the case – Judge Phillip J. Shepherd
Appellant’s attorney in 2009CA001908: Ann Hunsaker
Appellee’s attorneys in 2009CA001908: Matthew Hemmer and Scott Thomas
For more information, look up the case numbers here – Court of Appeals cases.
COURT OF APPEALS PANEL
Judge Laurance B. VanMeter
Judge Laurance B. VanMeter was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in November 2003 to serve Division 1 of the 5th Appellate District. He was re-elected to the Court of Appeals in November 2006. The 5th Appellate District is comprised of Anderson, Bourbon, Boyle, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Madison, Mercer, Scott and Woodford counties.
Judge VanMeter also serves as Court of Appeals representative on the Ethics Committee of the Kentucky Judiciary.
Prior to being elected to the Court of Appeals, Judge VanMeter was appointed to serve as a Fayette County circuit judge in 1999. From 1994 to 1999, he was a district judge for Fayette County, Division 1 of the 22nd Judicial District. He practiced law with the Lexington firm of Stoll, Keenon & Park from 1983 to 1994.
Judge VanMeter has been actively involved in many community organizations, including Little League Baseball, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Parents Place.
He received his undergraduate degree in 1980 from Vanderbilt University and his law degree in 1983 from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Kentucky Law Journal.
Judge VanMeter was born in 1958 and is a native of Winchester.
Judge Thomas B. Wine
Judge Thomas B. Wine was appointed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in August 2006 to serve Division 1 of the 4th Appellate District, which consists of Jefferson County. He was subsequently elected to the Court of Appeals in November 2006.
Judge Wine was elected to the Circuit Court bench in November 1991 and re-elected in 1999. He served as chief judge of Jefferson Circuit Court in 2000 and 2001 and as president of the Louis D. Brandeis American Inns of Court in 2002 and 2003. He was in private practice from 1990 until he assumed the duties of circuit judge.
Before embarking on his judicial career, Judge Wine worked in the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Jefferson County from 1979 to 1984 and from 1988 to 1990. He worked in the Office of the Attorney General in Frankfort from 1984 to 1988.
Judge Wine was born in Louisville. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a bachelor’s degree in 1977 and a juris doctor in 1980.
Judge Ann O’Malley Shake
Judge Ann O’Malley Shake is a senior judge assigned to the Court of Appeals.
Prior to joining the Senior Judges Program, Judge Shake served on the Jefferson County bench as a Circuit Court and District Court judge. She previously was an attorney in private practice. She also served as a social worker and a Head Start teacher.
Judge Shake earned her juris doctor from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, graduating in 1982.
She is a member of the Women Lawyers Association, the Kentucky Bar Association, the Louisville Bar Association Board of Directors, the American Bar Association, KATA and the Council on Peacemaking.
Kentucky Court of Appeals
Nearly all cases heard by the Kentucky Court of Appeals come to it on appeal from a lower court. If a case is tried in Circuit Court or District Court and the losing parties involved are not satisfied with the outcome, they may ask for a higher court to review the correctness of the trial court’s decision. Some cases, such as criminal case acquittals and divorces, may not be appealed. In a divorce case, however, child custody and property rights decisions may be appealed. Cases are not retried in the Court of Appeals. Only the record of the original court trial is reviewed, with attorneys presenting the legal issues to the court for a decision.
Fourteen judges, two elected from seven appellate court districts, serve on the Court of Appeals. The judges are divided into panels of three to review and decide cases, with the majority determining the decision. The panels do not sit permanently in one location, but travel throughout the state to hear cases.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort is the operations arm for the state court system. The AOC supports the activities of nearly 3,600 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC executes the Judicial Branch budget.