Kentucky Supreme Court Decisions

The Kentucky Supreme Court provides governing interpretations of state laws and sets rules of practice and procedure for members of the legal profession in Kentucky. The Court reviews cases involving the death penalty, life imprisonment, or a term of imprisonment lasting at least 20 years on direct appeal from the trial court. Other cases must proceed through lower appellate courts before reaching the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court will review these appeals only if the lower appellate court consents.

Seven justices sit on the Kentucky Supreme Court, serving eight-year terms. To be eligible to serve as a justice, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Kentucky and the district that elects them for at least the last two years, and licensed to practice law in Kentucky for at least the last eight years. Kentucky uses a system of non-partisan elections to choose justices. This means that the party affiliation of a candidate does not appear on the ballot. Each of the seven appellate districts in Kentucky elects a justice. The justices elect the Chief Justice, who serves a four-year term.

In recent years, the Kentucky Supreme Court has issued several notable and controversial decisions. For example, a 2012 decision struck down gun bans on university and college campuses as applied to guns that are stored in a vehicle. This case arose from events at the University of Kentucky, and seven other universities in the state supported the position of the University during the litigation. However, the Court rejected their arguments, finding that state laws prevent organizations from prohibiting gun owners from carrying their guns in their vehicles.

Browse Opinions From the Kentucky Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Kentucky Supreme Court
GREGORY DEAN ROE V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0150-MR
Haney v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0534-MR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the circuit court in this criminal case, holding that the case must be remanded for the trial court to consider whether Defendant's consent to a…

River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 614, Inc. v. Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0159-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the circuit court and court of appeals affirming the judgment of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet finding that because no union business privilege exists in the Commonwealth, the…

Commonwealth v. Shirley  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Numbers: 2021-SC-0254-DG, 2021-SC-0293-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the circuit court denying Defendant a directed verdict on the charge against her of unlawful access to a computer in the…

LARRY HERALD V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0256-MR
BYRON SEYMOUR V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0339-MR
Simpson v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0344-MR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court sentencing Defendant to twenty years' imprisonment for his convictions of two counts of manslaughter in the second degree, driving under the influence of…

McGaha v. McGaha  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0351-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals for failing as a reviewing court to give proper deference to the trial court's decision to deny Appellees leave to amend a pleading and held that the court…

TRANE CO. V. TOMMY HAFLEY, ET AL.
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0410-WC
Lakshmi Narayan Hospitality Group Louisville v. Jimenez  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0449-WC

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that Claimant's claim for disability benefits was not barred by res judicata and that the Workers' Compensation Board misconstrued the reopening…

Leslie-Johnson v. Hon. Audra Eckerle  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0450-MR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the court of appeals denying a motion for writs of prohibition and mandamus, holding that there was no error. In the underlying medical negligence action, Petitioners filed a…

Goff v. Honorable Edwards  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0452-MR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying a writ of mandamus directing the circuit court to dismiss the underlying circuit court action filed by three sisters (Sisters), holding that the…

Commonwealth v. Boone  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2021-SC-0494-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing Defendant's convictions for theft of identity and being a persistent felony offender in the first degree, holding that the court of appeals erred…

Bradley v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2022-SC-0076-TG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court in this appeal challenging a ruling of the circuit court concerning the constitutionality of House Bill 348 (HB 348) and remanded the matter with instructions…

INQUIRY COMMISSION V. BETHANY L. STANZIANO-SPARKS
Date: September 22, 2022
Docket Number: 2022-SC-0105-KB
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