suspended Kentucky judge; says the commission is “used”

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky judge was suspended with pay Friday after testifying that he pressured a practicing attorney in his court to support his re-election campaign.

The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission voted 3-2 to suspend 42nd Judicial Circuit Judge Jamie Jameson following a day-long hearing in which he told commissioners they were being used for political purposes, reported The Paducah Sun.

The hearing included testimony from attorney Lisa DeRenard that Jameson repeatedly asked her to support his re-election campaign against public attorney Andrea Moore. DeRenard felt compelled to donate to her campaign, which she did several times, she said.

She also testified that Jameson “put her on the spot” at a fundraising event, asking her to speak in support of his campaign. And she said Jameson pressured her to file a lawsuit against Amy Harwood-Jackson, a public defender who supports her opponent.

Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire also testified, who said Jameson asked him to have a courthouse deputy removed from the building after a security video of Jameson emerged. Jameson argued that the deputy posed a security risk, although he mentioned in his text message to McGuire that he believed the deputy was acting in the interests of his opponent.

Jameson was also charged with conduct unbecoming. The panel viewed a number of videos showing Jameson’s behavior in the courtroom and the use of his contempt power.

Jameson called character witnesses on his behalf, including local attorneys and a circuit clerk who praised his behavior as a professional and said he treated defendants, attorneys and law enforcement with respect.

Jameson also spoke up in his own defense. He admitted his behavior in the videos may have reflected a quick trigger or was the result of particularly stressful days, but he largely defended his actions as necessary to preserve courtroom decorum and punish unacceptable behavior. In a testy exchange, Jameson told the commissioners he thought they were being used for political purposes.

After the vote, Jameson called it “part of modern politics” and said he would “stay the course.”

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