Politics & Government

Jack Conway: No special prosecutor needed to pursue misconduct case against Kim Davis

Conway Herald-Leader

Attorney General Jack Conway said he won't appoint a special prosecutor "at this time" to pursue a criminal case of official misconduct against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, despite a request from the Rowan County attorney.

In a brief statement, Conway’s office said he will defer to U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who is overseeing several lawsuits involving Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in June. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has cited her religious objection to same-sex marriage.

“Judge Bunning and the federal court have control of this matter, and therefore a special state prosecutor is not necessary at this time,” Conway spokeswoman Allison Gardner Martin said. “We are holding the request in abeyance for now.”

Last month, Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins asked Conway, the Democratic nominee for governor, to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether Davis is guilty of official misconduct for failing to perform her public duties.

First-degree official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor, can bring up to a year in jail and up to a $500 fine.

The local couple who initiated the criminal complaint, James Yates and William Smith Jr., finally received a license Friday while Davis was in jail for contempt of court.

“We would like to have seen a prosecutor explore the possibility of criminal charges, but we’ll let the civil lawsuits proceed,” said Rene Heinrich, a lawyer for Yates and Smith.

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