The Kentucky Supreme Court is considering a case that could have a major impact on criminal investigations in the commonwealth.
Floyd Grover Johnson was sentenced to 10 years in prison on multiple drug trafficking charges in Powell County.
But in his appeal, Floyd successfully argued that because the investigation leading to his indictment was conducted solely by uninvited law enforcement agencies outside of Powell County—including detectives from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office and officers working for Operation UNITE, an anti-drug enforcement non-profit founded by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers—then his 2009 indictment should be moot.
In oral arguments before the Kentucky Supreme Court on Thursday, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said that if Floyd's appeal is upheld, it could have severe implications for his office's ability to investigate a wide range of cases, from drug trafficking to child pornography.
"What is particularly concerning to the office of the Attorney General is to accept the ... argument would be to make the office of the Attorney General nothing more than a clerk for your local prosecutors, your local city council," Conway said. "I guess someone working at Walmart would have more investigative authority than the office of the Attorney General who’s given peace officer status.”
The Louisville Courier-Journal is citing other local judges and political insiders in reporting that Bowling Green attorney Greg Stivers is being considered to fill a vacant federal judgeship in Kentucky.
U.S. Attorney David J. Hale is reportedly also being considered.
The paper says two Warren Circuit Court judges and others have indicated they've been interviewed by the Justice Department as part of the vetting process of Stivers who is outside counsel for Western Kentucky University and a partner in the 14-lawyer Bowling Green firm of Kerrick, Stivers and Coyle. The firm is an underwriter for WKU Public Radio. Federal district judges are paid $174,000 a year and are appointed for life.
Stivers' name is expected to be put forth by Kentucky senator Rand Paul, a neighbor and close friend of Stivers. According to the Warren County Clerk's office, the 53 year old Stivers was a registered Democrat until November 2009 when he switched parties as Paul was mounting his Senate campaign. Paul's Bowling Green Senate office is in a building that also houses Stivers' law firm. Federal records show Stivers contributed $800 to Paul's campaign.
The conviction and 50-year prison sentence of a Todd County teenager has been overturned after the Kentucky Supreme Court concluded his confession was coerced.
The high court on Thursday ordered a new trial for 19-year-old Garrett Thomas Dye. Dye was convicted in 2011 of beating his adopted sister, 9-year-old Amy Dye, to death.
Justice Will T. Scott concluded that police improperly told Dye, then 17, that if he didn't confess, a jury would convict him and hand down a death sentence. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that anyone under 18 is ineligible for execution.
The case drew the attention of state lawmakers. Records were released showing that social workers either ignored or dismissed allegations of abuse and neglect against the child.