On Friday, December 2, 2022, District Court Judge Ann Ruttle of the 16th Judicial Circuit, Division 1, by counsel, filed her Motion for Oral Hearing seeking to dismiss the charges filed before the Judicial Conduct Commission of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The case is styled, ‘In Re The Matter Of Ann Ruttle.

A Notice of Formal Proceedings and Charges dated November 10, 2022, was issued against Judge Ruttle. The charges stemmed from her conduct in Commonwealth v. Comer, in which she did not apply the law concerning the appointment of counsel for indigent, even if defendant Cromer at the time of her arraignment, requested for an appointed counsel as she could not afford an attorney. Judge Ruttle informed Cromer to return at the pre-trial conference with proof of income, and again denied Cromer’s request, saying that Cromer do not qualify for the public defender.

The charges alleged Judge Ruttle to have violated Canon 1 Rules 1.1 and 1.2, Canon 2 Rules 2.2, 2.3(A), 2.5(A), and 2.8(B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which require:

A judge to comply with the law;

A judge to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

A judge to uphold and apply the law, and to perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.

A judge to perform the duties of judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.

A judge shall perform judicial and administrative duties competently and diligently.

A judge shall be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, court staff, court officials, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct of lawyers, court staff, officials, and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.

Judge Ruttle, then, moves the Commission for an oral hearing on her Motion to Dismiss the Notice of Formal Proceedings and Charges. She then sought the dismissal of the charges on November 20, 2022, which was dismissed the following day by the Commission.

The Motion reads:

‘There was no response or any arguments or assertions on behalf of the commission that the motion was not well-taken. It is noted  that the commission has the authority to engage counsel to represent it in its proceedings (SCR 4.110), but apparently, it chose to act in this matter without the benefit of counsel.’

The Motion continues:

‘The Order of the Chairperson of the commission on its face denies Judge Ruttle her constitutional right to be heard, and the Order was clearly entered without due consideration, considering the timing set out above. Judge Ruttle is constitutionally entitled to a hearing before an unbiased decision-maker on her motion.’

The Judge earned a law degree from Salmon P. Chase College of Law in 1984.
The Judge’s Courtroom is at the Justice Center, 230 Madison Avenue, Covington, Kentucky, and can be reached at 859-292-6576.

A copy of Judge Ruttle’s motion can be found here.