Proceedings against family court judge begin

A panel of judges from across the state perused transcripts Tuesday and watched hours of video recordings from the courtroom of a Central Kentucky family court judge facing charges of misconduct.

Family Court Judge Tamra Gormley, who was appointed in 2007 to a district that covers Scott, Woodford and Bourbon counties, is on trial before the state's Judicial Conduct Commission, which investigates and reviews complaints against judges.

Gormley faces seven counts of misconduct, but the trial covers only three charges filed early this year. The other misconduct charges were filed earlier this month.

The charges could result in separate or collective penalties, including public or private reprimand, suspension without pay or removal or retirement from judicial office. The commission is the only entity authorized to discipline a sitting Kentucky judge, according to state law.

The proceedings in Fayette Circuit Court are scheduled to last three days.

On Tuesday, Gormley occasionally whispered to her lawyers as she watched the videos.

During opening statement, Lexington attorney George F. Rabe, who was hired by the commission as prosecutor in the case, recounted the incidents in Scott and Woodford counties that led to the three charges.

Gormley is accused of failing to notify a man held in contempt on Feb. 20, 2008, that he was facing a contempt charge, according to documents obtained from the commission. Gormley is also accused of questioning the man without informing him that his answers might subject him to criminal contempt sanctions.

Gormley has also been charged with disregarding jurisdictional or venue requirements and pleading and notice requirements in a custody case in Woodford County.

And the commission says Gormley disregarded jurisdictional requirements by entering custody orders in a child custody case.

Gormley has denied all of the charges against her, according to court documents.

Gormley's attorney, William A. Hoskins of Lexington, said he would prove that Gormley did not make erroneous legal decisions. Hoskins said Gormley made "a good faith effort" in research, diligence and attempt to follow and serve the law.

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