Circuit judge issues ruling that calls law affecting senior judges 'unconstitutional'

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ASHLAND, Kentucky — A Franklin circuit judge has ruled unconstitutional a law that put into question whether senior judges could run for office in certain circumstances.

The Independent (http://bit.ly/1uuhrY7) reports Judge Thomas D. Wingate called the law "''an unconstitutional piece of special legislation" that applies only to certain judges.

The ruling seems to clear the way for former senior judge Marc I. Rosen to run for Boyd circuit judge. Rosen filed suit over the law after his candidacy for the seat was challenged. He said the legislation deprived him and a few other senior-status judges from running for office.

The law prescribes a five-year term for senior judges and prohibits them from becoming candidates for office during that time period. Previously, the judges committed to working 600 days.

Rosen argued that he completed his 600 days before his five-year term ended on January 31. The primary filing deadline was January 28.

Although a special judge in the case found that Rosen should be disqualified, the Kentucky Court of Appeals overturned that decision.

The appeals court found the judge erred by disqualifying Rosen before the Franklin Circuit Court had ruled in his lawsuit or considering himself whether the new law was constitutional.

"As it stands right now, I'm a qualified candidate,"?Rosen told the newspaper.

Incumbent Judge George W. Davis III, who is an intervening respondent in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the opinion.

"I?make it a practice not to comment on other judges' rulings. I obviously disagree and think there is adequate precedent,"?he said.

The ruling could be appealed, but Davis said voters will ultimately decide who should serve as judge.


Information from: The Independent, http://www.dailyindependent.com

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