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First page of Judicial Conduct Commission’s final order removing judge from office

The Open Records Act figures prominently in the Judicial Conduct Commission’s 5-O final order removing Marshall-Calloway County Circuit Court  Judge Jamie Jameson from office. The order — which was issued today — includes a finding that Jameson “use[d] the power and prestige of [his] office for personal gain.”…

That “personal gain” was “killing” a Murray State University public radio station story that he learned of when he was notified of the station’s open records request. The “story about the story” made the national news recently.…

Count VII relates to the open records matter. The “you” to whom it is addressed is Jameson. The order states:

“In early April of 2022, after learning that an Open Records Act request had been made to the Administrative Office of the Courts for security footage of the courthouse, you called Chad Lampe, the station manager of the public radio station at Murray State University.

“During that phone call, believing the station had filed an appeal of the denial of the Open Records Act request, you told Mr. Lampe you had already spoken to the President of the University and you told Mr. Lampe the President was not happy. You asked Mr. Lampe to confirm that the news station was not going to run a story about the camera footage of you walking around in the courthouse in your underwear.

“Within a day or two after your phone call, University leadership contacted Mr. Lampe requesting information about the Open Records Act request. The foregoing, established by clear and convincing evidence, demonstrates your attempt to use the power and prestige of your office for personal gain.”

On this basis, the Commission concluded that Jameson’s actions constituted misconduct in office and violated Supreme Court Rules — as well as Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct — warranting his removal from office. The Judicial Conduct Commission’s order takes effect in 10 days. Although Jameson can appeal it to the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Court rarely reverses the Commission’s orders.

Both Jameson’s and the Murray State University President’s conduct was inconvenient and embarrassing — bordering on outrageous — which is precisely why we have a Kentucky Open Records Act and why it must be preserved.


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