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Commission announces nominees for Fayette circuit, district judgeships – ABC 36 News – WTVQ

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Chief Justice of Kentucky John D. Minton Jr., announced nominees Tuesday to fill vacant judgeships in Fayette County Circuit and District courts. Fayette makes up the 22nd Judicial Circuit/District and the vacancies are in Circuit Division 7 and District Division 1.
The three nominees for the Circuit Court judgeship are attorneys Perry Mack Bentley, Todd Smith Page and Jeffrey Anderson Taylor, all of Lexington. The judicial seat will be vacant when Judge Ernesto Scorsone retires Nov. 30.
Bentley has been in private practice with Stoll Keenon Ogden since 1984 and began serving as a senior attorney with the firm in January 2020. He received his juris doctor from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.
Page has been in private practice with Stoll Keenon Ogden since 1993 and has been a member since 2001. He received his juris doctor from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.
Taylor is a partner with the law firm of Landrum & Shouse. He received his juris doctor from The John Marshall Law School, which is now the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Law.
The three nominees for the District Court judgeship are attorneys Shannon Leigh Brooks, Joshua Tyler Fain and Denotra Ann Spruill-Gunther, all of Lexington. The judicial seat became vacant when Judge Joseph T. Bouvier retired Oct. 31.
Brooks has served as an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy since 2008. She received her juris doctor from the University of Saint Louis School of Law.
Fain is the director of the non-profit housing agency Lexington Community Land Trust. He previously served as a legal aid attorney with Legal Aid of the Bluegrass from 2006-2020. He received his juris doctor from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.
Spruill-Gunther is a solo practitioner, focusing on civil litigation. She previously served as a Fayette County prosecutor. She received her juris doctor from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law.
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases. In counties with a Family Court division of Circuit Court, Family Court judges have primary jurisdiction in cases involving family issues, including divorces, adoption, child support, domestic violence and juvenile status offenses.
District Court judges handle juvenile matters, city and county ordinances, misdemeanors, violations, traffic offenses, probate of wills, arraignments, felony probable cause hearings, small claims involving $2,500 or less, civil cases involving $5,000 or less, voluntary and involuntary mental commitments and cases relating to domestic violence and abuse.
The Judicial Nominating Commission helps fill judicial vacancies by appointment when a vacancy occurs outside of the election cycle. The Kentucky Constitution established the JNC. Ky. Const. § 118; SCR 6.000, et seq.
When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the JNC publishes a notice of vacancy in the judicial circuit or the judicial district affected. Attorneys may recommend someone or nominate themselves. The names of the applicants are not released. Once nominations occur, the individuals interested in the position return a questionnaire to the Office of the Chief Justice. Chief Justice Minton then meets with the Judicial Nominating Commission to choose three nominees. Because the Kentucky Constitution requires that three names be submitted to the governor, in some cases the commission submits an attorney’s name even though the attorney did not apply. A letter naming the three nominees is sent to the governor for review. The governor has 60 days to appoint a replacement and his office makes the announcement.

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