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State Supreme Court justice sworn in

FRANKFORT — Daniel J. Venters formally took his seat on the Kentucky Supreme Court Monday, nearly a month after being selected to replace the state's retired chief justice.

Venters, a 58-year-old attorney, succeeds Joseph Lambert on the seven-justice panel that represents the state's 3rd Supreme Court District.

"This is, judicially speaking in Kentucky, where the buck stops," Venters said from the bench in his first formal remarks to the public. "And I feel awed by that responsibility, but at the same time I'm comforted here by the fact that there are six other honorable and brilliant people with whom I share that responsibility."

Venters was sworn in during a public ceremony that attracted state constitutional officers, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Gov. Steve Beshear. It was just for show, however, because Venters took his oath of office last month.

Venters had served more than 20 years as a district and circuit judge in southern Kentucky. He also had been a prosecutor who once worked for Rogers.

Beshear appointed Venters last month to replace Lambert, who retired in June. John D. Minton Jr. succeeded Lambert as chief justice.

Beshear, a first-term Democrat, said he picked Venters based on his more than two decades as a judge.

"He listens," Beshear said. "He treats people with respect and dignity, and he follows the law."

Rogers, a Republican, said Venters would represent the values of the 27 counties in his southern Kentucky district.