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
Harkins v. Honorable House  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Numbers: 2019-SC-0216-MR, 2019-SC-0244-MR, 2019-SC-0217-MR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the court of appeals denying Plaintiffs' petitions seeking writs of prohibition in these medical malpractice actions, holding that Plaintiffs established that they were entitle...

Commonwealth v. Crumes  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Numbers: 2019-SC-0278-DG, 2019-SC-0613-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating Defendant's conviction for robbery in the first-degree and complicity to murder and affirmed the trial court, holding that the trial court did not...

Kentucky Retirement Systems v. Jefferson County Sheriff's Office  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2019-SC-0476-T

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed in part and remanded in part the judgment of the trial court upholding the decision of the Retirement Systems's Administrative Review Board affirming the decision of the Kentucky Retirement Sys...

Ortiz v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2019-SC-0704-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court denying a writ of prohibition seeking to prohibit enforcement of the district court's suppression order in this case, holding that the Commonwealth failed to s...

Epperson v. Commonwealth  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2019-SC-0724-MR

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court denying Defendant's motion for relief under Ky. R. Crim. P. 22.42 and 10.02 and Ky. R. Civ. P. 60.02 and 60.03, holding that the circuit court did not err in f...

MARK E. SMITH V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2019-SC-0725-MR
SHIRLEY DONATHAN V. TOWN & COUNTRY FOOD MART, ET AL.
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0024-WC
STACEY JOE CARTER V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0038-MR
Commonwealth v. Clayborne  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0058-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant's motion to suppress, holding that the traffic stop in this case was extended, and the extension was not justified by reasonable, articulable s...

SHERMAN DENNY V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0059-MR
MICHAEL R. HAMBLEN, JR. V. COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0089-MR
Bramlett v. Ryan  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0232-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this action alleging negligent operation of a resident swimming pool, neglig...

Commonwealth v. Perry  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0279-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court granting Defendant's motion to suppress evidence, holding that substantial evidence supported the trial court's fi...

Nichols v. Zurich American Insurance Co.  
Date: September 30, 2021
Docket Number: 2020-SC-0284-DG

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the circuit court concluding that Zurich American Insurance company had a reasonable basis to deny James Nichols' claim for underi...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.