On September 29, 2023, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an opinion and order indefinitely suspending David Curlin, a licensed lawyer and Family Court judge, from the practice of law. The suspension was based on Curlin’s failure to respond to charges brought against him by the Kentucky Bar Association (Association) in two separate disciplinary cases.
David Curlin was admitted to the practice of law in May 2009 and was elected as a Family Court judge for the 51st Judicial District, Henderson County, in November 2022. His term of office began in January 2023. However, prior to his election, Curlin faced two bar complaints related to the legal services he provided.
On February 20, 2023, the Association filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to indefinitely suspend Curlin from the practice of law under Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 3.167(1) due to his failure to respond to the charges brought against him. Despite receiving the charges at the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Curlin remained nonresponsive.
The court issued orders on March 10, 2023, and April 14, 2023, directing Curlin to show cause why he should not be suspended from the practice of law. Curlin filed a written response on April 25, 2023, stating that he had not received the Association’s motions and orders due to the closure of his law office and a change in his employment address. He expressed his intention to respond to the charges.
After considering Curlin’s response, the Supreme Court denied the Association’s request for indefinite suspension but ordered Curlin to file a formal answer to the charges and a notice confirming his response within 30 days. The court made it clear that failure to comply would result in immediate and indefinite suspension.
As of the date of the court’s opinion and order, Curlin had not provided any documentation showing that he had responded to the charges. Therefore, the court concluded that Curlin violated its order and that his indefinite suspension from the practice of law was appropriate.
Despite Curlin’s position as a sitting judge, the court emphasized that his judicial role did not exempt him from complying with disciplinary rules that applied to him as a licensed lawyer before his election.
The court ordered Curlin’s indefinite suspension from the practice of law, effective September 30, 2023. Disciplinary proceedings will continue against Curlin as permitted under Supreme Court Rules. Additionally, Curlin is temporarily disqualified from serving as the Family Court judge for the 51st Judicial Circuit, Henderson County, but his pay status remains unaffected. He is also prohibited from accessing or utilizing court resources during his temporary disqualification.
David Curlin, with Kentucky Bar Association Membership No. 92885, has been a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Kentucky since May 1, 2009. His courtroom is located at the Henderson County Judicial Center, 5 N Main Street, Henderson, KY 42420, and can be reached at 270-826-2405.