Gov. Matt Bevin was given three names Friday from which to choose a replacement on the Kentucky Court of Appeals for Lexington attorney Laurance B. VanMeter, who recently joined the state Supreme Court.
They are Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela R. Goodwine, Circuit Judge Robert G. Johnson (Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties) and attorney Damon Loyd Preston, who works for the state Department of Public Advocacy.
Bevin has 60 days to pick one of the three, whose names were submitted by a judicial nominating commission. If he doesn’t, Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. will make the selection.
The $130,044-a-year position is for the 1st Division of the Kentucky Court of Appeals’ 5th District. The Central Kentucky district includes Franklin, Scott, Bourbon, Anderson, Woodford, Fayette, Clark, Mercer, Jessamine, Madison and Boyle counties.
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Goodwine, of Lexington, has served as a Fayette circuit judge since 2003. She became Lexington’s chief regional circuit judge in January after serving as vice chief regional circuit judge from 2008 to 2016. She received her law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Johnson, of Georgetown, has served as a circuit judge for Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties since 2005. He has been the chief regional circuit judge in those counties since 2008. He received his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.
Preston, of Georgetown, is the state’s deputy public advocate and has served as a public defender in the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy for 23 years. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School.
There are two Court of Appeals judgeships that serve the 5th Appellate District. The Court of Appeals seat for the district’s Division 1 became vacant after VanMeter was elected to the state Supreme Court in November.
The Court of Appeals considers appeals from lower courts. If a case is tried in district or circuit court, and the losing parties involved aren’t satisfied with the outcome, they may ask for a higher court to review the correctness of the trial court’s decision.
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. The Kentucky Supreme Court is the state’s highest court.
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 don’t sit permanently in one location, but travel about the state to hear cases.